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Johnson v. VHS of Michigan, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 21, 2018

HEATHER RAE JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
VHS OF MICHIGAN, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER (1) DISMISSING COUNT II OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND (2) TERMINATING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT II OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (ECF #10) AS MOOT

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this action, Plaintiff Heather Rae Johnson alleges that Defendant VHS of Michigan, Inc. violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (the “TCPA”) and the Michigan Collections Practices Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.251 et seq. (the “MCPA”) when VHS repeatedly called her cellular phone attempting to collect a debt owed by a woman Johnson does not know. (See Compl., ECF #1.) VHS has now moved to dismiss Johnson's state-law claims under the MCPA. (See Mot., ECF #10.) For the reasons stated below, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over those claims. The Court therefore DISMSISES Johnson's MCPA claims WITHOUT PREJUDICE and TERMINATES VHS's motion to dismiss AS MOOT.

         I[1]

         Johnson is a resident of Detroit, Michigan. (See Compl. at ¶4, ECF #1 at Pg. ID 2.) VHS is a hospital group headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. (See Id. at ¶5, Pg. ID 2.) VHS “regularly uses the mail and/or telephone to collect or attempt to collect debts owed or due by consumers across the country.” (Id.)

         Johnson alleges that in 2016, VHS began calling her on her cellular phone. (See Id. at ¶8, Pg. ID 2.) VHS told Johnson that “it [was] seeking to collect upon an outstanding medical debt […] owed by an individual named ‘Wanda.'” (Id. at ¶13, Pg. ID 3.) Johnson did not owe a debt to VHS and was “unfamiliar with any individual [named Wanda].” (Id. at ¶14, Pg. ID 3.) Johnson told VHS that it had the wrong phone number, and she asked VHS to “remove her phone number from its calling list and to stop contacting her.” (Id.) VHS nonetheless continued to call Johnson in an attempt to collect the debt owed by Wanda. (Id. at ¶¶ 15-16, Pg. ID 3.) Johnson says she received “not less than 48 phone calls” from VHS related to Wanda's unpaid debt. (Id. at ¶18, Pg. ID 3.)

         II

         Johnson filed this action on December 22, 2017. (See ECF #1.) In her Complaint, she seeks damages related to VHS's repeated phone calls. (See id.) In Count I of the Complaint, Johnson alleges that VHS violated the federal TCPA. (See id. at ¶¶ 23-28, Pg. ID 4-5.) In Count II, she alleges that VHS violated three provisions of Section 2 of the MCPA: Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.252(f)(ii), (n), and (q). (See Compl. at ¶¶ 33-39, Pg. ID 5-7.) In relevant part, those provisions state that “[a] regulated person shall not commit” the following acts: (f) Misrepresenting in a communication with a debtor ….

(ii) the legal rights of the creditor or debtor.
(n) Using a harassing, oppressive, or abusive method to collect a debt, including causing a telephone to ring or engaging a person in telephone conversation repeatedly, continuously, or at unusual times or places which are known to be inconvenient to the debtor. All communications shall be made from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. unless the debtor expressly agrees in writing to communications at another time. All telephone communications made from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. shall be presumed to be made at an inconvenient time in the absence of facts to the contrary.
(q) Failing to implement a procedure designed to prevent a violation by an employee.

Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.252(f)(ii), (n), and (q). Johnson insists that VHS violated these provisions when it “continue[d] to contact [her] cellular phone absent the lawful ability to do so.” (Compl. at ¶¶ 30, 34, ECF #1 at Pg. ID 5-6.)

         VHS moved to dismiss Johnson's MCPA claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on January 25, 2018. (See ECF #10.) On March 13, 2018, the Court entered a notice informing the parties that it would decide VHS's motion without oral argument. (See ECF #14.)

         III

         Johnson asserts that the Court has supplemental jurisdiction over her state-law MCPA claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. (See Compl. at ¶2, ECF #1 at Pg. ID 1.) This statute provides that “in any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Supplemental jurisdiction “is a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff's right.” Habich v. City of Dearborn, 331 F.3d 524, 535 (6th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted) (affirming district court's refusal to assert supplemental jurisdiction). See also Pinney Dock & Transport Co. v. Penn Cent. Corp., 196 F.3d 617, 620 (6th Cir. 1999) ...


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