United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANT JONES'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOCUMENT NO.
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge.
Christine Essique sued Defendants Walnut Woods Condominium
Association, Kramer-Triad Management Group, LLC, and Jeffery
Jones, P.C., alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (FDCPA) and Michigan's Regulation of
Collection Practices Act (MRCPA), slander of title, invasion
of privacy, nuisance, and breach of contract. She brought
suit individually and as trustee of the Christine R. Essique
Revocable Living Trust. Defendant Jones filed a motion to
dismiss. For the reasons below, the Court will grant the
motion in part and deny the motion in part.
2014, Essique stopped paying condominium association fees to
Walnut Woods based on a dispute over a retaining wall
project. Am. Compl. ¶ 25, ECF No. 6. As a result, the
association hired Jones to collect the unpaid fees from
Essique. Mot. 2, ECF No. 18. On July 21,
2014, Jones sent a letter to Essique. Id. The letter
stated that "this office is attempting to collect a debt
on behalf of Walnut Woods Condominium Association."
Letter, ECF No. 18-2. In the letter, Jones demanded $900 from
Essique in association fees, late charges and legal charges.
Id. Additionally, the letter informed Essique that,
under the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have
thirty (30) days in which to dispute this debt. . . . Upon
disputing the debt, we shall supply to you (by mail)
verification of the debt." Id. The letter
included a "ledger" that detailed Essique's
association fee payment history and her then-current balance
owed for two months of unpaid fees: $725. Id.
days later, on August 20, 2014, Essique sent a response
letter to Jones; she disputed the debt and requested
verification of the debt. Am. Compl. ¶ 28, ECF No. 6. On
December 5, 2014, Jones filed a lien on Essique's
condominium. Id. ¶ 30. Then, on February 10,
2015, Jones sent another letter to Essique. Letter, ECF No.
18-3. The letter included "verification of the
debt" - a document detailing Essique's balance owed:
$3, 305 for unpaid association fees, late fees, and legal
8, 2015, Jones sent a notice to Essique, indicating that the
lien would be foreclosed on June 9, 2015 at a public auction.
Am. Compl. ¶ 34, ECF No. 6. Essique filed a complaint,
dismissed her claim, and then filed an amended complaint.
See Compl., ECF No. 1. Later, Essique voluntarily
dismissed the complaint as to Kramer-Triad. Jones's
motion to dismiss followed.
brings the motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted or, alternatively, for summary judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Under Rule
12(b)(6), the Court must dismiss a complaint that fails to
allege facts "sufficient 'to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level, ' and to 'state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Hensley Mfg. v. ProPride, Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609
(6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). In evaluating the motion, the
Court views the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, presumes the truth of all well-pled factual
assertions, and draws every reasonable inference in favor of
the non-moving party. Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008).
To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must offer
"more than the bare assertion of legal
conclusions." Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA,
L.L.C., 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009), or a
"formulaic recitation of the elements."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681(2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Instead, the plaintiff
must provide sufficient facts to show a "plausibility of
entitlement to relief." Id. at 678. When
reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court may only consider
the pleadings. Jones v. City of Cincinnati, 521 F.3d
555, 562 (6th Cir. 2008).
Court relies on materials outside of the pleadings and not
referenced in the complaint, the summary judgment standard
applies. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Summary judgment
is proper if there is "no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Id. A fact is material for
purposes of summary judgment if its resolution would
establish or refute an "essential element of a cause
of action or defense asserted by the parties[.]"
Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir.
considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
view the facts and draw all inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Stiles ex rel. D.S. v.
Grainger Cnty., Tenn., 819 F.3d 834, 848 (6th Cir.
2016). At the summary judgment stage, the judge's
function is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the
truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a
genuine issue for trial." Jackson v. VHS Detroit
Receiving Hosp., Inc., 814 F.3d 769, 775 (6th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 249 (1986)).
motion to dismiss the FDCPA and MRCPA claims, Jones asks the
court to consider material, including a February 10, 2015
debt collection letter, that was not specifically mentioned
by Essique in the complaint. Since the Court will consider
material outside the pleadings, the Court will convert
Jones's motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
passed the FDCPA to prevent "abusive, deceptive, and
unfair debt collection practices." 15 U.S.C. §
1692. The FDCPA exists "to protect consumers, "
Haddad v. Alexander, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto,
PLLC, 758 F.3d 777, 785 (6th Cir. 2014), reh'g
denied (Aug. 8, 2014), and is "extraordinarily
broad" in scope. Currier v. First Resolution Inv.
Corp., 762 F.3d 529, 533 (6th Cir. 2014) (quotations
omitted). And, as with any ...