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Cowley v. Equifax Information Services, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

October 21, 2019

RUVYE COWLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, TRANS UNION, LLC, ROYAL FURNITURE COMPANY, and UNITED CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY, Defendants.

         JURY DEMAND

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

          THOMAS L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Ruvye Cowley moves to dismiss Defendant United Consumer Financial Services Company's (“UCFSC”) Counterclaim for breach of contract. (ECF No. 59.) For the reasons below, this Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss UCFSC's Counterclaim for breach of contract.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff received an Equifax and Trans Union credit disclosure that reported a UCFSC trade line with a scheduled monthly payment of $72.00. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.) She then sent Equifax a dispute letter claiming that the trade line was charged off and closed, meaning she did not have an obligation to make monthly payments. (Id. at 5.) Equifax and Trans Union forwarded Plaintiff's dispute to UCFSC, who did not make any changes to its reporting. (Id.) Plaintiff then filed this lawsuit claiming the report was misleading and inaccurate. (Id. at 9.)

         Plaintiff alleged that UCFSC violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by reporting a scheduled monthly payment when the account was, in fact, charged off and closed. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff also alleged that UCFSC did not adequately investigate her dispute notice. (Id. at 8-9.) And Plaintiff claimed these violations caused her credit and emotional damages, undue stress, anxiety, mental anguish, suffering, and embarrassment. (Id. at PageID 8-10.)

         UCFSC then filed a Counterclaim against Plaintiff for breach of contract. (See ECF No. 55 at PageID 286-87.) UCFSC claims that it entered into a “Retail Installment Contract / Security Agreement” (“Agreement”) with Plaintiff. (Id. at PageID 286.) Plaintiff signed the Agreement jointly with another borrower. (Id. at PageID 287.)

         Under the Agreement, UCFSC provided Plaintiff with $1, 400.00 in consumer financing. (Id.) In return, Plaintiff agreed to make 24 monthly payments of $72.04 to UCFSC to repay the principal plus interest. (Id.) Yet UCFSC alleges that Plaintiff failed to timely pay the amounts owed, and it accelerated the debt under the Agreement. (Id.) As a result, UCFSC argues that Plaintiff owes $867.00, plus late fees and interest. (Id.)

         Plaintiff now asks this Court to dismiss UCFSC's Counterclaim by declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over it.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a party may move to dismiss a claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and the law presumes that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction.” Boegh v. EnergySolutions, Inc., 772 F.3d 1056, 1064 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994)) (internal quotation marks omitted). So the plaintiff or counter-claimant “has the burden of proving jurisdiction” to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1). Moir v. Greater Cleveland Reg'l Transit Auth., 895 F.2d 266, 269 (6th Cir. 1990).

         Plaintiff, however, does not challenge the existence of subject matter jurisdiction here. Instead, Plaintiff contends that the Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Defendant's Counterclaim. (ECF No. 59 at PageID 365.) Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, when a court properly retains original jurisdiction over a civil action, it “shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims . . . so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form a part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). The Sixth Circuit has held that claims form part of the same case or controversy when they derive from a common nucleus of operative facts. Blakely v. United States, 3276 F.3d 853, 861 (6th Cir. 2002).

         But the Court may decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim if: (1) it “raises a novel or complex issue of State law”; (2) it “substantially predominates over the claim or claims over which the district court has original jurisdiction”; (3) the court “has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction”; or (4) in exceptional circumstances, “there are other compelling reasons for declining jurisdiction.” Id. § 1367(c)(1)-(4). District courts enjoy “broad discretion in deciding ...


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