United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
W. PHILLIPS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants MCOT, Inc.
(“MCOT”) and Timothy D. Hall's motion for
judgment on the pleadings [doc. 25] and motion for leave to
file supplemental authority [doc. 59]. The motion for
judgment on the pleadings has been fully briefed [docs. 26,
52, 54, 58] and is ripe for determination. For the reasons
set forth herein, the defendants' motion for leave to
file supplemental authority [doc. 59] will be granted, to the
extent that the Court has considered the supplemental
authority, and defendant's motion for judgment on the
pleadings [docs. 25] will be granted in part and denied in
Empire Radiology (“MER”) is a provider of
radiological services and provided medical treatment to
plaintiff Kristen Daley. Thus, Mrs. Daley owed MER for the
cost of that medical treatment. When that debt went unpaid,
MER hired MCOT, a collection agency, to collect the amount.
MCOT, by its attorney, Mr. Hall, filed a collection action in
the Greene County General Sessions Court. On February 15,
2018, that court entered a judgment against Mr. and Mrs.
Daley in the amount of $712.24. Subsequent to the entry of
judgment, MER obtained a garnishment of Mrs. Daley's
wages in the amount of $996.41. Plaintiffs assert violations
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et
seq., by defendants MCOT and Mr. Hall.
Standard of Review
12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states,
“[a]fter 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). Motions for judgment on
the pleadings are reviewed under the same standard as motions
to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Fritz v. Charter Twp. of
Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010). That is,
“all well-pleaded material allegations of the opposing
party must be taken as true, and the motion may be granted
only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly entitled to
judgment.” Id. The Court construes the
complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepts
all factual allegations as true, and determines whether the
complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Albrecht
v. Treon, 617 F.3d 890, 893 (6th Cir. 2010), cert.
denied, 562 U.S. 1201 (2011) (citing Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); League of United Latin
Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir.
the pleading requirements outlined in Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Iqbal to
Rule 12(c) motions, plaintiffs must “plead . . .
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Albrecht, 617 F.3d at 893 (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted); see New Albany
Tractor, Inc. v. Louisville Tractor, Inc., 650 F.3d
1046, 1050-51 (6th Cir. 2011). When considering a Rule 12(c)
motion, the Court “need not accept as true legal
conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.”
HDC, LLC v. City of Ann Arbor, 675 F.3d 608, 611
(6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Kottmyer v. Maas, 436 F.3d
684, 689 (6th Cir. 2006)). However, “[i]f it is at all
plausible (beyond a wing and a prayer) that a plaintiff would
succeed if he proved everything in his complaint, the case
proceeds.” Doe v. Baum, 903 F.3d 575, 581 (6th
Cir. 2018) (citations omitted). The Court may consider
documents central to the plaintiffs' claims to which the
complaint refers and incorporates as exhibits. Amini v.
Oberlin College, 259 F.3d 493, 502 (6th Cir. 2001).
initial matter, this Court has reviewed Defendants'
motion for leave to file supplemental authority [doc. 59], in
which the Defendants ask the Court to consider this
Court's recent decision in Drake et al. v.
Greeneville Collection Service, et al., No. 2:19-cv-01
(E.D. Tenn. Oct. 16, 2019). Defendants' motion [doc. 59]
is GRANTED, to the extent that the Court has
reviewed and considered the Drake case.
FDCPA is an “extraordinarily broad” statute
intended to address debt collection abuse by unscrupulous
debt collectors. Currier v. First Resolution Inv.
Corp., 762 F.3d 529, 533 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Barany-Snyder v. Weiner, 539 F.3d 327, 333 (6th Cir.
2008)). The Act identifies specific conduct that is
prohibited, but it also generally prohibits any harassing,
unfair, or deceptive debt collection practice. Id.
To determine whether conduct fits within the broad scope of
the FDCPA, the conduct is viewed through the eyes of the
“least sophisticated consumer.” Id. This
standard recognizes that the FDCPA protects the gullible and
the shrewd alike while simultaneously presuming a basic level
of reasonableness and understanding on the part of the
debtor, thus preventing liability for bizarre or
idiosyncratic interpretations of debt collection notices.
second amended complaint, plaintiffs assert the following
violations of the FDCPA:
• defendants falsely represented the character and legal
status of the debt in violation of 15 U.S.C. §
1692e(2)(A) by representing that Mr. Daley owed the debt by
virtue of his marriage to Mrs. Daley [Doc. 45 at ¶ 71];
• defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(8) by
communicating credit information which is known or should be
known to be false [Id.];
• defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10) by
using a false representation or deceptive means to collect or