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Grier v. Mid-Michigan Credit Bureau

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

August 14, 2019

BONITA DARCEL GRIER, Plaintiff,
v.
MID-MICHIGAN CREDIT BUREAU, Defendant.

          DAVID R. GRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#31]

          HON. GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Bonita Grier, proceeding pro se, initiated this civil action against Defendant Mid-Michigan Credit Bureau, alleging violations of both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1861. Dkt. No. 17. Defendant has moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), asserting Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege any facts in support of her claims.

         Present before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Dkt. No. 31. The Motion is fully briefed, and Court will decide the matter without a hearing. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT the Motion IN PART and DENY the Motion IN PART [#31].

         II. Background

         In 2014, Plaintiff was hospitalized at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. Dkt. No. 17, p. 10 (Pg. ID 75). In 2015, Defendant began contacting Plaintiff to collect on unpaid bills in connection with that medical care. Id. Plaintiff asserts that between 2015 and October 2017, Defendant “repeatedly and continuously contacted [her] by phone to harass her regarding the asserted debt.” Id. Plaintiff maintains that she does not owe any debt, as Medicare and her medical insurance should have covered her expenses. Id. at p. 11 (Pg. ID 76). Further, that she conveyed this information to Defendant over the phone and by submitting a dispute through Defendant's online contact system. Id. Despite this, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant ignored her repeated requests to cease communications, and instead, continued to call her by phone to harass, annoy, and abuse her. Id. Plaintiff thus alleges that Defendant violated both the FDCPA and the FCRA. Defendant, in turn, has moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

         III. Legal Standard

         “A Rule 12(c) motion is granted when no material issue of fact exists and the party making the motion is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007) (internal quotations and citations omitted). “The factual allegations in the complaint need to be sufficient to give notice to the defendant as to what claims are alleged, and the plaintiff must plead ‘sufficient factual matter' to render the legal claim plausible, i.e., more than merely possible.” Fritz v. Charter Tp. of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009)). While all well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the opposing party must be taken as true, Sage Int'l v. Cadillac Gage Co., 556 F.Supp. 381, 383 (E.D. Mich. 1982), that is not the case for a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, Fritz, 592 F.3d at 722.

         “If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). However, “[f]airness dictates that, absent some persuasive justification, the moving party should be able to obtain the benefit of the particular rule he or she has chosen to move under.” Wilson v. Karnes, 2007 WL 4207154, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 26, 2007). To that end, “[d]istrict courts have broad discretion to accept or reject matters outside the pleadings that are presented on Rule 12(c) motions, and will be reversed only for an abuse of that discretion.” Id. at *2 (citing Max Arnold & Sons, LLC v. W. L. Hailey & Co., Inc., 452 F.3d 494, 503 (6th Cir. 2006)).

         IV. Discussion

         Defendant has moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), asserting Plaintiff's Complaint fails to allege sufficient facts in support of her claims. Plaintiff opposes this Motion, and additionally, has submitted a signed declaration supplementing the allegations in her Complaint.

         As an initial matter, the Court will not consider Plaintiff's declaration for purposes of the pending Motion. First, the Court has already permitted Plaintiff to amend her Complaint on one occasion. See Dkt. No. 20. And second, fairness dictates that Defendant should be granted the benefit of obtaining relief under the rule in which it brought the instant Motion. Accordingly, the Court will not convert Defendant's Motion to one for summary judgment under Rule 56. Instead, the Court will recognize only the allegations in Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. See Dkt. No. 17.

         1. While Plaintiff Fails to Allege Sufficient Facts to State a Claim Under ยง 1692d(5) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, she has Pled Sufficient ...


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