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Kohler v. Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. California

March 31, 2017



          JOHN A. HOUSTON, United States District Judge.


         Currently pending before this Court is the motion to dismiss Plaintiff Jordan Kohler's (“Plaintiff”) complaint filed by Defendant Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC (“Defendant”). The motion has been fully briefed by the parties. After a careful review of the Defendant's motion, this Court GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss.


         Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on October 1, 2015. (See Doc. #1). Plaintiff alleges that on or about April 15, 2015, Plaintiff incurred a purported residential rent debt to Defendant. (Compl. ¶ 26). On or about April 7, 2015, Plaintiff received an email from Defendant informing Plaintiff that the rent was due. (Id. at ¶ 29). Plaintiff alleges that the rent included a $75 late fee. (Id. at ¶ 30). Plaintiff claims this late fee is a liquidated damage in violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq. (“UCL”) as well as the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1788, et seq. (“RFDCPA”). (See Compl.)

         Plaintiff asserts a class action complaint seeking damages and injunctive relief. (Id.) Plaintiff is a resident and citizen of the State of California. (Compl. ¶13). Defendant is a corporation incorporated in the State of Delaware, with its principal place of business in South Carolina. (Id. at ¶14)

         Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. (See Doc. # 10). Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion. (See Doc. # 11). Defendant filed a reply. (See Doc. # 12). The Court took the matter under submission pursuant to Local Rule 7.1.


         Defendant moves to dismiss the instant complaint on the grounds that the complaint fails to state a claim and fails to join a necessary or indispensable party pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(7). (See Doc. #10 at 11). In addition, Defendant asserts that the claim should be dismissed and/or stayed pursuant to the Colorado River Doctrine. (Id.).

         1. Legal Standards

         a. Rule 12(b)(6)

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Dismissal is warranted under Rule 12(b)(6) where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory. Robertson v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 749 F.2d 530, 534 (9th Cir. 1984); see Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989) (“Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes a court to dismiss a claim on the basis of a dispositive issue of law.”). Alternatively, a complaint may be dismissed where it presents a cognizable legal theory yet fails to plead essential facts under that theory. Robertson, 749 F.2d at 534. While a plaintiff need not give “detailed factual allegations, ” he must plead sufficient facts that, if true, “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007).

         “To 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.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 547). A claim is facially plausible when the factual allegations permit “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. In other words, “the nonconclusory ‘factual content, ' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief. Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950.

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must assume the truth of all factual allegations and must construe all inferences from them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir. 2002); Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). However, legal conclusions need not be taken as true merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations. Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003); Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court may consider the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached to the complaint, documents relied upon but not attached to the complaint when authenticity is not contested, and matters of which the Court takes judicial notice. Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 ...

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