United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
TERRI DOKES, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
LTD FINANCIAL SERVICES, L.P., et al., Defendants.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil action filed by Plaintiff Terri Dokes, individually
and on behalf of all others similarly situated, against
Defendants LTD Financial Services, L.P., (“LTD”)
and JH Portfolio Debt Equities, LLC (“JH
Portfolio”). (See doc. 1). The Complaint (doc.
1) sets out one count for violation of Section 1692g(a)(2) of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the
“FDCPA”) for failure to clearly disclose
“the name of the creditor to whom the debt is
owed.” (Id. at 4-5) (quoting 15 U.S.C. §
1692g(a)(2)). This count arises out of Defendants'
attempt to collect an alleged debt from Plaintiff through a
debt collection letter. (Id. at 1-3).
the Court is Defendants' joint Motion To Dismiss (the
“Motion”) the Complaint under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. (Doc. 14). Defendants filed
their Motion on July 5, 2018, and Plaintiff filed her
opposition (doc. 19) to the Motion on August 9,
2018. Thus, the Motion is ripe for review. For
the reasons stated in this opinion, the Motion is due to be
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss attacks the legal sufficiency of
the complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
(“[A] party may assert the following defenses by
motion: (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted[.]”). “[W]hen ruling on a motion to
dismiss, a court must view the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff . . . .” Am. United Life
Ins. Co. v. Martinez, 480 F.3d 1043, 1057 (11th Cir.
2007) (citing St. Joseph's Hosp., Inc. v. Hosp. Corp.
of Am., 795 F.2d 948, 954 (11th Cir. 1986)). This
requires that a court “accept all of the
plaintiff's well-pleaded facts [and reasonable
inferences drawn from those facts] as true.”
Id. (emphasis added) (citing St. Joseph's
Hosp., Inc., 795 F.2d at 954). Mere conclusory
statements and legal conclusions, however, do not need to be
accepted. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true
all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007))). Similarly,
even though a court “must take all of the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, [a court] ‘[is]
not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks
“a court considering a motion to dismiss can . . .
begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Id. at 679. After separating out these
legal conclusions, a court can identify if there are any
well-pleaded factual allegations. See Id.
“When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a
court should assume their veracity and then determine whether
[the complaint survives the motion to dismiss].”
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.'”
Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). A claim is plausible on its face “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. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). While “[t]he
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement, '” the plaintiff must show “more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556); see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(stating that the “[f]actual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level”). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not
permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Id. at 679 (second alteration in
original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
issue in this case is a debt collection letter (the
“Letter”) that is attached to Plaintiff's
Complaint as Exhibit B. (Doc. 1-2). The Letter was sent by
LTD to Plaintiff. (See Id. at 1). The right side of
the Letter's heading contains LTD's name and contact
information and the date. (See id.) The left side of
the Letter's heading contains Plaintiff's name and
address and two boxes. (See id.) The bottom box
contains an LTD reference number and the amount of the debt.
(See id.) The top box contains the following
JH PORTFOLIO DEBT EQUITIES, LLC.
ORIGINAL CREDITOR: COMENITY BANK
CREDITOR ACCOUNT #:
[redacted in Complaint]
(See id.) The body of the Letter contains the
Dear Terri E Dokes,
Your account with the above named creditor has been
placed with LTD Financial Services, L.P., a debt
collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt and any
information obtained will be used for that purpose.
Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving
this notice that you dispute the validity of the debt or any
portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid.
If you notify this office in writing within 30 days after
receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this
debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain
verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment, if
any, and mail you a copy of such verification or judgment. If
you request this office in writing within 30 days after
receiving this notice, this office will provide you with the
name and address of the original creditor, if different from
the current creditor.
You may call this office to discuss this debt at
1-800-741-2100, ask for [name]. Please refer to the reference
(See id.) (emphasis added).
Complaint contains the following well-pleaded factual
8. Ms. Dokes fell behind on paying her bills, including a
debt she allegedly owed for a Comenity Bank account.
Defendant LTD sent Ms. Dokes an initial form collection
letter, dated December 8, 2017, demanding ...