United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
NEWBERN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR.UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings (Doc. No. 23). Plaintiff filed a Response in
Opposition (Doc. No. 27) and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc.
No. 28). For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's
Motion is DENIED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed this action on May 2, 2018, alleging Defendant violated
Section 1692g(a)(2) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) by sending Plaintiff a debt collection
letter that failed to meaningfully convey the name of the
creditor to whom Plaintiff's alleged debt was owed. (Doc.
No. 1 ¶¶ 22-39). Plaintiff alleges the only
information Defendant provided in the letter as to the
debt's origination was that the “Facility”
was Stonecrest Medical Center. (Id. ¶ 25).
Plaintiff further alleges Defendant's letter “does
not explain [Defendant's] relationship to Stonecrest
Medical Center” and that “[t]he least
sophisticated consumer would not understand that
‘facility' was equivalent to the identity of the
current creditor to whom the debt is owed…Rather,
‘facility' may simply indicate that the location
where the services were rendered.” (Id.
¶¶ 31, 26-27). The letter at issue is attached as
an exhibit to the Complaint, Doc. No. 1-2, and is reproduced
(Doc. No. 1-2). The bottom portion of the collection letter
is a detachable payment slip, with spaces for recipients to
provide their credit card information. (Id.).
February 21, 2019, Defendant moved for judgment on the
pleadings, arguing Plaintiff's claim under Section
1692g(a)(2) should be dismissed because its “collection
letter makes clear the name of the creditor.” (Doc. No.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay
trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The standard for evaluating a motion for
judgment on the pleadings is the same as that applicable to a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. Hayward v. Cleveland Clinic Found., 759 F.3d
601, 608 (6th Cir. 2014). “In reviewing a motion for
judgment on the pleadings, we construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all of the
complaint's factual allegations as true, and determine
whether the plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts
in support of the claims that would entitle [him to]
relief.” Id. (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). “The factual allegations in the
complaint need to be sufficient to give notice to the
defendant as to what claims are alleged, and the plaintiff
must plead ‘sufficient factual matter' to render
the legal claim plausible, i.e., more than merely
possible.” Fritz v. Charter Twp. of Comstock,
592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009)).
ruling on a motion under Rule 12(c), the court may look only
at the “pleadings.” Doe v. Belmont
Univ., 334 F.Supp.3d 877, 887 (M.D. Tenn. 2018). The
term “pleadings” includes both the complaint and
the answer, Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(a), and “[a] copy of any
written instrument which is an exhibit to a pleading is a
part thereof for all purposes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).
Documents attached to a motion are considered part of the
pleadings only if they are referred to in the plaintiff's
complaint and are central to its claim. Amini v. Oberlin
College, 259 F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2001).
filed a document titled “Conditions of Admission and
Consent for Outpatient Care” as an exhibit to his
Response to Defendant's Motion. (Doc. No. 27-1, Ex. A).
Additionally, Plaintiff's Response cites an article from
the New York Times, Stonecrest Medical Center's website,
and an FTC study. (Doc. No. 27 at 10-11). These materials are
not referred to in the Complaint and are not attached to the
Complaint or answer as exhibits. For purposes of the instant
motion, the Court will not consider the “Conditions of
Admission and Consent for Outpatient Care”, New York
Times article, Stonecrest Medical Center website, and FTC
study. See Max Arnold & Sons, LLC v. W.L. Hailey
& Co., Inc., 452 F.3d 494, 503 (6th Cir. 2006)
(“The district court remains free to refuse to
accept materials outside the pleadings in order to keep
the motion under Rule 12(c) ....” (quoting 5C Charles
Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 1371 (3d ed. 2004))).
Fair Debt ...