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Mujtaba Hashimi v. Cach

August 22, 2012

MUJTABA HASHIMI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CACH, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Michael M. Anello United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Doc. No. 3]

Plaintiff Mujtaba Hashimi has filed suit against Defendant CACH, LLC, alleging various violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., arising out of CACH's attempt to collect on a debt allegedly owed by Hashimi. CACH moves to dismiss Hashimi's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Hashimi opposes the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS CACH's motion and DISMISSES this action with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

At some time prior to January 10, 2012, Plaintiff Mujtaba Hashimi incurred debt with Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.*fn1 Hashimi fell behind in the payments allegedly owed on the debt. According to the allegations in his complaint, "Plaintiff currently takes no position as to the validity of this alleged debt." Complaint ¶ 18. In the meantime, Wells Fargo assigned the debt to Defendant CACH, LLC for collection. On January 9, 2012, CACH instituted legal action against Hashimi in San Diego County Superior Court, filing a verified complaint alleging three causes of action for breach of contract, common counts, and account stated.

The gravamen of Hashimi's claims in this federal action arise out of the allegations contained in the verified complaint filed by CACH in state court. The specific factual allegations set forth by CACH against Hashimi in the state court action are as follows.*fn2

According to CACH, on or about September 5, 2007, Wells Fargo, the original creditor, issued a credit card in Hashimi's name under an account number identified in the complaint by its last four digits. See Def. Request for Judicial Notice, Ex. 1, Verified Complaint ¶ 6. CACH attached to the verified complaint a true and correct copy of the original credit card agreement. Id., Ex. A. CACH alleges that on or about July 16, 2009, Hashimi defaulted on his obligation under the credit card agreement by failing to pay the monthly charges as agreed. Id. ¶ 9. As a result, his charging privileges were cancelled. Hashimi made a final payment of $400.00 on June 16, 2009, and has refused, despite demand, to make any payment since that date despite the entire balance on the card being due and payable in full. Id. CACH attached to the verified complaint a true and correct copy of the billing statement as of February 2010. Id., Ex. C.

On February 28, 2010, the credit card account was "charged off" by Wells Fargo. On or about October 21, 2010, Wells Fargo transferred all of its rights and interest in the account to CACH. At the time, the total account balance purchased by CACH was $4,215.89. Id. ¶ 8. CACH attached to the verified complaint a true and correct copy of the written transfer of rights and interest. Id., Ex. B. On or about December 15, 2010, CACH provided Hashimi with a written notice of the transfer of all rights under the agreement, including the right to bring an action in state court to enforce CACH's rights. Id. ¶ 10.

Based on these factual allegations, CACH sued Hashimi for breach of contract, on grounds that Hashimi breached the terms of the credit card agreement when he defaulted on the payment obligation on the card. Id. ¶ 13-17. CACH also brought causes of action for common counts and account stated.

On April 24, 2012, Hashimi filed this federal action against CACH for purported violation of the FDCPA. According to Hashimi, "the purpose of the filing of the state case was not to pursue legitimate litigation, but to cause the plaintiff financial hardship with the intent of coercing the plaintiff to pay the alleged debt or merely hoping for the plaintiff's default." Complaint ¶ 22. Hashimi asserts that CACH used "false, deceptive, or misleading representations" in the verified complaint specifically with respect to the account stated cause of action. Id. ¶ 28. Hashimi complains that "an account stated requires that parties forego any previous bona fide contract between the parties and, instead, enter into a new contract between them, which never happened in this matter, a fact that Defendant either knew or reasonably should have known." Id.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Material allegations, even if doubtful in fact, are assumed to be true. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). However, the Court need not "necessarily assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations." Warren v. Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., 328 F.3d 1136, 1139 (9th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). In fact, the Court does not need to accept any legal conclusions as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009).

"While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations omitted). Instead, the allegations in the complaint "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. Thus, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949, citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "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." Id. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law either for lack of a cognizable legal theory or for insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984).

"Generally, a district court may not consider any material beyond the pleadings in ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion." Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990). However, a document is not considered "outside" the complaint if the complaint specifically refers to the document and if its authenticity is not questioned. Townsend v. Columbia Operations, 667 F.2d 844, 848-49 (9th Cir. 1982). As such, when ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court may consider documents "whose contents are alleged in a complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the [plaintiff's] pleading." Parrino v. FHP, Inc., 146 F.3d 699, 705-706 (9th Cir. 1998), citing Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 454 (9th Cir. 1994). Doing so ...


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