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Lett v. Garden City Group, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

October 3, 2018

RICKEY LETT, Plaintiff,



         Before the court is the Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 58) filed by Defendant Garden City Group, LLC (“Garden City Group”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) this case was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration and disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters as may be appropriate. Doc. 6.

         On February 21, 2018, Plaintiff Rickey Lett (“Lett”) filed this lawsuit, claiming that Garden City Group defrauded him. See Doc. 1. He has been given a number of opportunities to amend his allegations and has filed amended complaints on March 7, 2018 (Doc. 8); April 2, 2018 (Doc. 17); and April 13, 2018 (Doc. 21). These complaints did not address all of the court's concerns, so the court held a hearing and ordered Lett to file yet another amended complaint, which he did on June 11, 2018. Doc. 38.

         On July 13, 2018, the court entered an Order requiring Lett to comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Rules of Civil Procedure by more specifically setting forth his claims and noting certain pleading deficiencies with respect to his most recent complaint. Doc. 49 at 4. The court ordered Lett to separate each count for relief and to omit references to an invasion of privacy and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) if he intends to bring only a fraud claim; to set forth allegations of fact material to each of the elements of his claims; to allege facts establishing reasonable reliance for purposes of the fraud claim; and not to incorporate by reference all factual allegations into every count if he pleads more than one count. Doc. 49 at 4. In response, Lett filed the amended complaint which is the subject of the pending motion to dismiss. Doc. 53.

         Upon receipt of the motion to dismiss, this court entered an Order allowing Lett until August 30, 2018 to file a response. Doc. 60. Lett has not filed a response to the motion to dismiss as of the date of this recommendation.

         After careful consideration of the record and the applicable law, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the motion to dismiss (Doc. 58) be GRANTED and that Lett's claims be DISMISSED.


         Lett alleges that Crawford & Company is a member of Garden City Group located in Atlanta, Georgia. Doc. 53. In its Answer, Garden City Group admits that it is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in New York, and that its sole member is Crawford & Company, a Georgia corporation with a principal place of business in Georgia. Doc. 59 at 2. Lett is a citizen of Alabama. Doc. 53. Lett seeks more than $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs. Doc. 53 at 2. The court therefore has diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and the court finds adequate allegations to support both.

         II. FACTS

         Lett alleges in his amended complaint that he received a legal notice from Garden City Group informing him that he was included in a class action lawsuit. Doc. 53. The lawsuit covered a class of persons who had mortgages serviced by Wells Fargo from August 1, 2004 to December 31, 2013. Doc. 53 at 8. Lett alleges that within this notice Garden City Group knowingly made a statement that was an intentional misrepresentation that he would be paid $10, 000. Doc. 53 at 6. He attached the class notice to his amended complaint. Doc. 53 at 8. Lett also alleges that Garden City Group induced him to rely on the false statement. Doc. 53 at 5.

         The notice attached to the amended complaint states that

The settlement with Wells Fargo involves a total payment of $25, 750, 000. After deductions for costs of settlement administration and notice, class representative service awards, and attorneys' fees and expenses, the remainder (the “Net Settlement Fund”) will be distributed to Class Members.

Doc. 53 at 8. The notice also states:

The Honorable Robert W. Pratt will hold a hearing in the case, known as Young v. Wells Fargo & Co. Case No. 4:08-CV-507 RP-CFB, on January 21, 2016, at 10:00 am, at the United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa, Central Division, U.S. District Courthouse, 123 East Walnut Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, to consider whether to approve the settlement, attorneys' fees of up to 33-1/3 % of the $25, 750, 000 settlement, reimbursement for lawsuit costs and ...

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