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Benjamin W. Flint v. Beneficial Financial I Inc.; State Claims Paris

August 8, 2012

BENJAMIN W. FLINT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BENEFICIAL FINANCIAL I INC.; STATE CLAIMS*FN1 PARIS AND PARIS, LLP; AND DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS IN PART AND REMANDING

Defendants Beneficial Financial I Inc. ("Beneficial") and Paris and Paris, LLP ("Paris") each move for dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). Paris also "seeks leave to bring forward a motion for sanctions after the hearing of the instant motion." (Paris' Mot. to Dismiss ("Mot.") 17:5-6.) Plaintiff opposes the motions.

This case was removed from state court based on federal question jurisdiction, premised on Plaintiff's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") claim. (Paris' Not. of Removal 1:23-28, ECF No. 2.) For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's FDCPA claim will be dismissed with prejudice, and this action will be remanded to the state court from which it was removed.

Further, since Paris has not shown that leave to bring a sanction motion is necessary in light of the status of this case, this request is denied.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

Decision on the Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal motions requires determination of "whether the complaint's factual allegations, together with all reasonable inferences, state a plausible claim for relief." Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009)). "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)).

When determining the sufficiency of a claim, "[w]e accept factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party[; however, this tenet does not apply to] . . . legal conclusions . . . cast in the form of factual allegations." Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "Therefore, conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss." Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'").

II. REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Paris' dismissal motion includes a request that the Court take judicial notice of a complaint filed in a Yolo County Superior Court collections action ("state court collections action") and the Plaintiff's Declaration filed in support of his Motion to File a Cross-Complaint in the state court collections action. (Paris' Req. for Judicial Not. ("RJN") Exs. A, B.)

"As a general rule, a district court may not consider any material beyond the pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion." Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001) (citation and internal quotation marks and citation omitted). However, a court may consider "matters properly subject to judicial notice." Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 763 (9th Cir. 2007). A matter may be judicially noticed if it is either "generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court" or "capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned." Fed. R. Evid. 201(b).

Since judicial notice can be taken of "undisputed matters of public record, including documents on file in federal or state courts[,]" the referenced documents are judicially noticed. Harris v. Cnty. of Orange, 682 F.3d 1126, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2012)(taking judicial notice of a party's declaration filed in other litigation)(internal citation omitted).

III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

"On or about March 6, 2007, Plaintiff entered into a written agreement for a credit line of $10,000 . . . with Beneficial California, Inc., a predecessor by merger to Defendant [Beneficial]." (Compl., ECF No. 2-1, at 6.) "Plaintiff fell behind in the payments" in or around November 2010. Id.

"Sometime in March 2011, Plaintiff received a letter from [Paris], . . . stating that they represented Defendant [Beneficial] as successor in interest to Beneficial California, Inc. and that Plaintiff had [thirty] days to dispute the account owing." Id. "On or about April 19, 2011, Plaintiff called [Paris]" and "spoke to [an individual named Robert who] . . . "told him that a payment would be taken into consideration as good faith that [Plaintiff] intended to pay which the 'lawyer would look at' and consider postponement of the ...


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