UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 1, 2013
MADLENA TATARYAN, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
CHASE BANK (USA) N.A., A NATIONAL ASSOCIATION; MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge
ORDER SEVERING DEFENDANT AND GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS [Dkt. No. 14]
Presently before the court is Defendant Chase Bank USA, N.A. ("Chase")'s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. Having considered the parties' submissions, the court adopts the following order.
Plaintiff Madlena Tataryan alleges that on or about April 10, 2012, she obtained her credit report from several major credit reporting agencies ("CRAs") and discovered accounts in derogatory status, namely Partial Account No. 418587262487 reported by Defendant Chase and Partial Account No. 854306 reported by Defendant Midland Funding, LLC ("Midland"). (Compl. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff reviewed those accounts and determined that they did not belong to her. (Compl. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff submitted written disputes to the CRAs disputing those accounts and believes that they contacted Defendants regarding Plaintiff's dispute. (Compl. ¶¶ 13-14.) Plaintiff mailed dispute letters to both Defendants on April 26, 2012, but neither responded. (Compl. ¶¶ 16, 20.) Plaintiff submitted three letters to each Defendant requesting proof of investigation and verification of documents to justify their continued reporting of the accounts with the CRAs, but neither Defendant responded. (Compl. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges against Defendant Chase violations of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), the California Consumer Credit Reporting Act ("CCCRA"), and defamation by libel.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint is subject to dismissal when the plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. "When determining whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000).
In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009), the Supreme Court explained that a court considering a 12(b)(6) motion should first "identify pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. Next, the court should identify the complaint's "well-pleaded factual allegations, . . . assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief."
Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) ("In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory factual content, and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief") (internal quotation marks omitted).
Defendant Chase moves to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff's FAC is defective because she fails to differentiate between the behavior of Chase and Midland, that she has misjoined the two parties in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a)(2), and that her libel claim is preempted by the FCRA.
FRCP 20(a)(2) states that defendants may be joined in one action if "(A) any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and (B) any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action." "If the test for permissive joinder is not satisfied, a court, in its discretion, may sever the misjoined parties, so long as no substantial right will be prejudiced by the severance." Coughlin v. Rogers, 130 F.3d 1348, 1350 (9th Cir. 1997).
Here, Plaintiff alleges that Chase and Midland each reported a different account to credit bureaus. Plaintiff asserts in her opposition papers that Chase and Midland are properly joined "because both Defendants report the same account/debt in Plaintiff's credit reports." (Opp. at 5.) The FAC, however, alleges the reporting of two different accounts, with no pleading regarding their connection. (Compl. ¶ 11.) The court agrees with Defendant Chase that the separate reporting of two different accounts, one by each Defendant, cannot be considered the same transaction or occurrence and that the parties are therefore misjoined. Even if both Defendants had reported the same account, the court is not convinced based on these allegations that their separate reporting would be comprised in the same transaction or occurrence, since the alleged facts give no indication that the reporting and refusal to correct the allegedly incorrect report on the part of one Defendant was connected to the same actions by the other Defendant.*fn1
Because the court finds that Defendant Chase was improperly joined, the court declines to consider Chase's other grounds for dismissal.
The court finds that Chase was improperly joined. The court SEVERS Defendant Chase from this action and DISMISSES the action against Chase.
IT IS SO ORDERED.