United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ROBERT A. TURNBULL, Plaintiff,
O'REILLY RANCILIO P.C., Defendant.
Gershwin A. Drain District Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO AMEND
K. MAJZOUB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Amend
Complaint. (Docket no. 17.) Defendant opposes Plaintiff's
request, contending that the proposed amended complaint would
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
(Docket no. 19.)
consent of the Parties, this case has been referred to the
undersigned for all proceedings in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. (Docket
no. 11.) The Court has reviewed the pleadings and determined
that the Motion will be resolved without oral argument
pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule
reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's proposed amended
complaint fails to state a viable claim under the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Court must deny
Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend.
matter arises from Defendant's efforts to collect on a
student loan debt. Plaintiff filed a two-count complaint
alleging that Defendant violated the FDCPA by (1) suing
Plaintiff in a judicial district in which Plaintiff did not
reside at the time of the commencement of the action and by
(2) asserting that it had the right to garnish
Plaintiff's wages on the basis of the allegedly defective
underlying judgment. (Docket no. 1.) Plaintiff also contended
that Defendant's actions violated Michigan law.
filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and, in
the alternative, for summary judgment under Rule 56(c).
(Docket no. 8.) In support of its motion, Defendant contended
that any violation of the FDCPA was the result of a
“bona-fide error, ” for which a debt collector
may not be held liable. (Docket no. 8, pp. 8-9 (citing 15
U.S.C. § 1692(k)).) Plaintiff contested Defendant's
assertion of the bona-fide error defense, and, within his
responsive pleading, sought leave to file an amended
complaint in order to add “additional plausible claims
that are not futile, ” including that the garnishment
efforts undertaken by Defendant violated the venue provision
of the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692i. (Docket no. 13, pp.
Court partially granted Defendant's motion, dismissing
Plaintiff's FDCPA claims on the basis that Defendant had
at most committed a bona-fide error. (Docket no. 16.)
However, the Court observed that Plaintiff's proposed
amended claims based on the garnishment proceedings might be
viable. (Id. at p. 11.) Accordingly, the Court
permitted Plaintiff to file a procedurally proper motion for
leave to amend. (Id.) The Court further indicated
that if Plaintiff failed to add a valid federal claim, the
Court would decline to exercise jurisdiction over the
state-law claims and dismiss the entire matter. (Id.
at p. 13.)
April 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed his motion for leave to amend
(docket no. 17), asserting that the proposed amended pleading
would state an FDCPA claim that would not be subject to the
same basis for dismissal of his originally-pleaded claims.
Defendant contends that the proposed amended complaint would
remain subject to dismissal as a matter of law, and on that
basis opposes Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend.
(Docket no. 19.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave. The court should
freely give leave when justice so requires. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Such leave should be granted in the absence of
undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive, repeated failure
to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue
prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of the
amendment. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83
S.Ct. 227, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962).
described above, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's FDCPA
claim as originally pleaded, but permitted Plaintiff to file
a motion for leave to amend in order to address whether
Defendant's garnishment efforts could give rise to a
viable FDCPA claim. Because Defendant opposes Plaintiff's
request, the Court must determine whether justice requires
granting leave to amend. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
15(a)(2). In determining whether “justice so requires,
” the Court will look to “the substance of the
proposed amendment.” Roskam Baking Co., Inc. v.
Lanham Machinery Co., Inc., 288 F.3d 895, 906 (6th Cir.
2002) (citation ...