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Gates v. Northland Group, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 21, 2017

DOLLIE GATES, On behalf of herself and all others similarly situated,, Plaintiff,

          ARI HILLEL MARCUS MARCUS ZELMAN LLC On behalf of Plaintiff



          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Presently before the Court is the unopposed motion of Defendant to dismiss, and compel arbitration of, Plaintiff's putative class action complaint, which alleges that Defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. For the reasons expressed below, Defendant's motion will be granted.


         Plaintiff, Dollie Gates, alleges violations of the FDCPA arising from the collection of her delinquent and outstanding Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”) credit card debt. Defendant Northland Group, Inc. (“Northland”) is a collection agency, collecting defaulted accounts owed to third parties.

         In August 2015, Citibank assigned Plaintiff's account to Northland for collection purposes. On August 11, 2015, Northland sent Plaintiff a collection letter in an attempt to collect on the delinquent account. Plaintiff claims that Northland's collection efforts violated the FDCPA because it did not make it clear whether the account was collecting interest. Plaintiff has brought her claims as a putative class action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 for all New Jersey consumers who were sent the same or similar collection letter within one year to the date of the filing of the complaint.

         Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint and compel arbitration of her claims on an individual basis, arguing that the credit card agreement, which governs the relationship between Plaintiff, Citibank, and Northland, contains an arbitration provision and a class action waiver applicable to Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff has not opposed the motion.[1]


         A. Subject matter jurisdiction

         The Court has jurisdiction over this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., and 28 U.S.C. § 2201.

         B. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

         When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, “[a]lthough the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a claimant to set forth an intricately detailed description of the asserted basis for relief, they do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted). A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks “‘not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for ‘all civil actions' . . . .”); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (“Iqbal . . . provides the final nail-in-the-coffin for the ‘no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly.”).

         A court in reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion must only consider the facts alleged in the pleadings, the documents attached thereto as exhibits, and matters of judicial notice. S. Cross Overseas Agencies, Inc. v. Kwong Shipping Grp. Ltd.,181 F.3d 410, 426 (3d Cir. 1999). A court may consider, however, “an undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document.” Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). If any other matters outside the pleadings are ...

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