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Breckenridge v. Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.

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

April 25, 2019

April Breckenridge and Harvey Ayers, Plaintiffs,
Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation, Defendant.


          Denise Page Hood Chief Judge, U.S. District Court.


         Plaintiffs filed this action in Wayne County Circuit Court on February 12, 2018. Plaintiffs alleged that a number of former Defendants violated the Fair Debt Consumer Protection Act (“FDCPA”) and the Michigan Occupational Code, and that Defendant Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (“Nissan”) violated the Michigan Uniform Commercial Code (“Michigan UCC”), Article 9. On March 9, 2018, the case was removed to this Court, and on April 13, 2018, Nissan filed an Answer to the Second Amended Complaint and a Counterclaim for breach of contract. Dkt. Nos. 16, 17. Pursuant to the Court's Scheduling Order, Dkt. No. 30, the discovery period closed on November 30, 2018. Nissan is the only remaining Defendant, as the Court has entered stipulated orders dismissing the other Defendants.

         On February 18, 2019, Nissan timely filed a Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rules of Procedure 12(c) and 56. Dkt. No. 51. The Motion has been fully briefed, and a hearing on the Motion was held on April 10, 2019. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Nissan's Motion.


         Prior to February 13, 2017, Nissan hired Primeritus Financial Services, Inc. to effectuate the repossession of a 2015 Nissan Altima (“Altima”). Plaintiffs purchased the Altima on December 11, 2014, pursuant to a Michigan Simple Interest Retail Installment Contract (the “Contract”). Under the Contract, Plaintiffs agreed to pay Nissan $38, 408.40 for the Altima. Plaintiffs defaulted on the Contract when they made no payments after the May 2016 payment. Nissan repossessed the Altima after February 13, 2017, pursuant to the Contract and its security interest. Nissan ultimately sold the Altima in December 2017 for $9, 500.00. After applying the $9, 500.00 sale proceeds against the balance due and owing under Contract, Nissan calculated that Plaintiffs had a balance remaining due and owing in the amount of $20, 078.96.

         In its Motion, Nissan asks the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint with prejudice, find in favor of Nissan on its Counterclaim, and enter judgment in favor of Nissan and against Plaintiffs in the amount of $20, 078.96.


         A. Rule 12(c)

         In deciding a motion brought pursuant to Rule 12(c), the standard is the same as that used in evaluating a motion brought under Fed.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See, e.g., Stein v U.S. Bancorp, et. al, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18357, at *9 (E.D. Mich. February 24, 2011). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. The Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and review the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Eidson v. Tennessee Dep't of Children's Servs., 510 F.3d 631, 634 (6th Cir. 2007); Kottmyer v. Maas, 436 F.3d 684, 688 (6th Cir. 2006).

         As a general rule, to survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state sufficient “facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The complaint must demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that the defendant's conduct was unlawful. Id. at 556. Claims comprised of “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. Rather, “[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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         B. Rule 56

         Rule 56(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedures provides that the court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The presence of factual disputes will preclude granting of summary judgment only if the disputes are genuine and concern material facts. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine” only if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. Although the Court must view the motion in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, where “the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be “no genuine issue as to any material fact, ” since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23. A court must look to the substantive law to identify which facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

         IV. ...

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