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Johnson v. Cach, LLC

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 16, 2016

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON, for himself and behalf of others all similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
CACH, LLC and MANDARICH LAW GROUP, LLP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         The Court has before it a Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 11) filed by defendants CACH, LLC and Mandarich Law Group, LLP. Alternatively, the Defendants seek to compel arbitration of the dispute. For the reasons discussed below, the Motion is granted in part, and the Court will order arbitration for all claims and parties.

         Christopher Johnson originally filed this action in Idaho state court for himself and on behalf of all others similarly situated. This case was removed to federal court on August 22, 2016. (Dkt. 1).

         On June 30, 2008, Plaintiff entered into a credit card agreement with Bank of America (the “Agreement”). (Dkt. 13 at 3). Bank of America is, according to Plaintiff, a corporation incorporated in the state of Delaware. Id. The Agreement contained language stating that the Agreement was entered into in Delaware and that the credit from Bank of America to Plaintiff was extended from Delaware. Id. The Agreement also contained a choice of law provision stating that the Agreement was to be governed by the laws of Delaware. Id. At the time the Agreement was entered into, Plaintiff resided in Tennessee. Id.

         Plaintiff ultimately charged $8, 989.28 to the Bank of America credit card. Id. On June 30, 2012, Bank of America sent Plaintiff a “final statement of the balance.” Id. No further charges were made after the final statement. Id. No payments were made on the credit card after May 3, 2012. Id. at 4. It is apparently undisputed that Plaintiff breached the Agreement with Bank of America by “failing to make periodic payments.” Id.

         On July 24, 2012, Bank of America assigned the right to collect Plaintiff's debt to CACH. Id. CACH commenced legal action against Plaintiff to collect the debt on October 7, 2015 in Idaho state court. Id. The parties settled the original lawsuit, and the case was dismissed. Id. at 5.

         Plaintiff filed the present action against Defendants alleging general claims for relief. (Dkt. 1-1 at 5). First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq, because Defendants allegedly filed the original action outside of the controlling statute of limitations and that the Defendants “acted with malice or otherwise with willful or reckless disregard for Plaintiff's legal rights . . . .” Id. at 7. Plaintiff also alleges a violation of the North Carolina Debt Collections Act (the “NCDCA”), N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 75-50, because proposed class members may have entered into a credit card agreement with Bank of America that contained a choice of law provision for North Carolina and that the alleged conduct was coercive, fraudulent, and misleading under the NCDCA. Id. Finally, Plaintiff brings a claim of “malicious prosecution” for prosecuting outside of the Idaho statute of limitations. Id.

         Defendants argue in the Motion that all claims should be dismissed. (Dkt. 11-1). Alternatively, Defendants request that if the Court declines to grant Defendants' Motion in full that the Court compel arbitration. Id. at 10.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.' ” Id. at 557.

         The Supreme Court identified two “working principles” that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept as true, legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         Providing too much in the complaint may also be fatal to a plaintiff. Dismissal may be appropriate when the plaintiff has included sufficient allegations disclosing some absolute defense or bar to recovery. See Weisbuch v. County of L.A., 119 F.3d 778, 783, n. 1 (9th Cir. 1997) (stating that “[i]f the pleadings establish facts compelling a decision one way, that is as good as if depositions and other . . . evidence on summary judgment establishes the identical facts”).

         A dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is beyond doubt that the complaint “could not be saved by any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573 F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued 2 months after Iqbal).[1] The Ninth Circuit has held that “in dismissals for failure to state a claim, a district court should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v. Northern California Collection Service, Inc.,911 F.2d 242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The issue is not whether plaintiff will prevail but whether ...


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