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Abuan v. JPMorgan Chase & Co.

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 3, 2013

SHANNON ABUAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. dba CHASE HEALTH ADVANCE a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS WITH LEAVE TO AMEND [DOC. 5]

M. JAMES LORENZ, District Judge.

On June 6, 2013, Plaintiff Shannon Abuan commenced this action against Defendant JP Morgan Chase. Defendant now moves to dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Plaintiff opposes.

The Court found this motion suitable for determination on the papers submitted and without oral argument. See Civ. L.R. 7.1(d)(1). (Doc. 11.) For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss WITH LEAVE TO AMEND.

I. BACKGROUND

In December 2006, Plaintiff opened a personal credit card account with the Defendant. (Compl. ¶ 11. [Doc. 1].) At some point in 2010, Plaintiff defaulted on that account. ( Id. ¶ 12; see also Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Ex. A at 24.) Following the default, the Defendant attempted to collect payments on the Plaintiff's debt obligation. ( Id. ¶ 13.)

On November 15, 2011, Plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff listed a number of debts on Schedule F of the bankruptcy petition, including the $12, 039.00 debt owed on her Chase Health credit card account. ( Id. ¶ 16; see Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, Ex. A at 24.) After she filed for bankruptcy, the Defendant called her cellular telephone at least eighteen times between December 16, 2011 and December 6, 2012, giving rise to Plaintiff's claims in this action. ( Id. ¶¶ 14, 15, 19.) Plaintiff received a discharge of her debts from the bankruptcy court on February 23, 2012 and her case was closed on February 27, 2012. ( Id. ¶ 14.)

On June 6, 2013, Plaintiff commenced this action. The Complaint asserts the following four claims: (1) violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq.; (2) violations of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"), Cal. Civ. Code § 1788, et seq.; (3) violations of the automatic stay, 11 U.S.C. § 362, et seq.; and (4) violations of the discharge injunction, 11 U.S.C. § 524, et seq. All of Plaintiff's claims are based on Defendant's phone calls to her cellular phone. Defendant now moves to dismiss the complaint on the basis of judicial estoppel and Plaintiff's failure to adequately plead any of the four causes of action. Plaintiff opposes.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The court must dismiss a cause of action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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). The court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cedars-Sanai Med. Ctr. v. Nat'l League of Postmasters of U.S., 497 F.3d 972, 975 (9th Cir. 2007). 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, 678 (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, 556 U.S. at 678 (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, courts may not consider material outside the complaint when ruling on a motion to dismiss. Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., 896 F.2d 1542, 1555 n.19 (9th Cir. 1990). However, documents specifically identified in the complaint whose authenticity is not questioned by parties may also be considered. Fecht v. Price Co., 70 F.3d 1078, 1080 n.1 (9th Cir. 1995) (superceded by statutes on other grounds). Moreover, the court may consider the full text of those documents, even when the complaint quotes only selected portions. Id. It may also consider material properly subject to judicial notice without converting the motion into one for summary judgment. Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 (9th Cir. 1994).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Request for Judicial Notice

As a preliminary matter, Defendant requests judicial notice of a number of items, including Plaintiff's voluntary petition filed in bankruptcy court. (Doc. 8.) Because courts may take judicial notice of "matters of public record, " Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.2d 668, 689 ...


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