United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tiffany Roper, proceeding pro se, sued Defendants Debt
Management Partners, Adam March, and Daniel Valentine, among
others, alleging that they violated the Fair Debt Practices
Collection Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and
Federal Communications Commission's telemarketing sales
regulations. DMP, Mr. March, and Mr. Valentine moved the
court to dismiss Ms. Roper's claims against them for lack
of personal jurisdiction, lack of proper service, and failure
to state a claim. (Doc. 13, 14). For the reasons discussed in
this opinion, the court will grant the motion as to Mr. March
and Mr. Valentine but deny it as to DMP.
October of 2013, Ms. Roper borrowed $500.00 from Advance
America, an online lender. Ms. Roper obtained an extension on
the original loan, resulting in a new balance of $587.50. Ms.
Roper was unable to pay the balance, and the loan became
Net USA funded and held the loans offered by Advance America.
CashNetUSA sold Ms. Roper's account to DMP, who in turn
sold it to Solutions to Portfolios, LLC, who sold it to Legal
Outsourcing. Ms. Roper alleges that DMP, Mr. March, and Mr.
Valentine “have or have had, direct or indirect control
over the daily operations of such account.” (Doc. 1 at
Roper's complaint details several conversations with
persons she alleges to be employees or agents of the
Defendants (including the three Defendants who have moved to
dismiss the complaint). (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 22, 25-28,
32-44, 56-57, 60-64, 70, 88). During these conversations, Ms.
Roper alleges the Defendants or their agents made false
statements about the amount of her debt and the consequences
of nonpayment, and also failed to identify themselves as debt
collectors. Further, Ms. Roper claims she received over 150
unauthorized calls, and that the collectors failed to use
accurate caller identification information. (Doc. 1 at ¶
STANDARD OF REVIEW
12(b)(2) motion attacks the court's jurisdiction over the
defendant's person. In determining whether personal
jurisdiction exists, a federal court sitting in diversity
undertakes a two-step inquiry: “the exercise of
jurisdiction must (1) be appropriate under the state long-arm
statute and (2) not violate the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution.” United Techs. Corp. v. Mazer,
556 F.3d 1260, 1274 (11th Cir. 2009). “[B]ecause
Alabama's long-arm statute permits the exercise of
personal jurisdiction to the fullest extent constitutionally
permissible, ” the two inquiries are coextensive in
this case. Sloss Indus. Corp. v. Eurisol, 488 F.3d
922, 925 (11th Cir. 2007).
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing personal
jurisdiction over the defendant [but] ‘need only make a
prima facie showing.'” S & Davis Intern.,
Inc. v. The Republic of Yemen, 218 F.3d 1292, 1303 (11th
Cir. 2000) (quoting Taylor v. Phelan, 912 F.2d 429,
431 (10th Cir. 1990)). The court must accept the allegations
in the complaint as true. Id. “Where, as here,
the defendant challenges jurisdiction by submitting affidavit
evidence in support of its position, ‘the burden
traditionally shifts back to the plaintiff to produce
evidence supporting jurisdiction.'” Mazer,
556 F.3d at 1274 (quoting Meier ex rel. Meier v. sun
Int'l Hotels, Ltd., 288 F.3d 1264, 1269 (11th Cir.
2002)). If “the plaintiff's complaint and
supporting evidence conflict with the defendant's
affidavits, the court must construe all reasonable inferences
in favor of the plaintiff.” Meier, 288 F.3d at
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of
the complaint. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require
the complaint to provide “a short and plain statement
of the claim” demonstrating that the plaintiff is
entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1). A plaintiff must
provide the grounds of her entitlement, but Rule 8 rarely
requires detailed factual allegations. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Rule 8 does, however,
demand “more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Pleadings that contain nothing more than a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action do not meet
Rule 8 standards. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557.
court must construe a pro se complaint liberally, but it does
not have a duty to rewrite it. See Snow v. DirecTV,
Inc., 450 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2006). Even a pro
se plaintiff is “subject to the relevant law and rules
of court, including the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure.” Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837
(11th Cir. 1989).
jurisdiction “represents a restriction on judicial
power . . . as a matter of individual liberty.”
Ins. Corp. of Ireland v. Compagnie des Bauxites de
Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982). When a defendant
challenges personal jurisdiction by filing affidavits to
support its position, “[t]he plaintiff bears the burden
of proving by affidavit the basis upon which jurisdiction may