United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIAM F. KAETZ, Plaintiff,
EDUCATIONAL CREDIT MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, ET AL., Defendants.
C. CECCHI, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of Educational
Credit Management Corporation ("Defendant") to
dismiss Plaintiff William F. Kaetz's
("Plaintiff') Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). (ECF No. 10). The Court has given careful
consideration to the submissions from each party. Pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b), no oral argument was heard. For the
reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is
August 7, 2012, Plaintiff filed a voluntary petition for
relief pursuant to Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New
Jersey. (ECF No. 10-1 at 8). As part of Plaintiffs
voluntary petition, Plaintiff listed Defendant as a creditor
holding an unsecured non-priority claim in the amount of $15,
835.00, incurred in July 2010. (Id. at 24). On
January 28, 2013, the Honorable Morris Stern, United States
Bankruptcy Judge, granted Plaintiff "a discharge under
section 727 of title 11, United States Code."
(Id. at 36). Included with Plaintiffs discharge was
an "EXPLANATION OF BANKRUPTCY DISCHARGE IN A CHAPTER 7
CASE, " which states: "[m]ost, but not all, types
of debts are discharged if the debt existed on the date the
bankruptcy case was filed .... Some of the common types of
debts which are not discharged in a [C]hapter 7
bankruptcy case are:... Debts for most student loans."
(Id. at 37).
December 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint with this
Court, contending that, despite the discharge he received on
January 28, 2013, Defendant "continued to collect a
discharged debt" and "furnished fraudulent
information to the other defendants[:] Experian, TransUnion,
and Equifax." (ECF No. 1 at 3). On January 25, 2017,
Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 10).
Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted because: (1) Plaintiffs debts are
student loans, governed by 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8), and
therefore were not automatically discharged on January 28,
2013; and (2) Defendant "is required by statute to
report certain information to consumer reporting agencies,
" and the information Defendant furnished was entirely
accurate. (ECF No. 11 at 6-7).
March 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed an opposition. (ECF No. 17).
Although Plaintiffs opposition was untimely filed, as
Plaintiff is pro se, the Court will still consider
Plaintiffs opposition. On March 22, 2017, Defendant filed a
reply, (ECF No. 21), and on April 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
sur-reply. (ECF No. 25). Although the Court did not grant
permission to Plaintiff to file a sur-reply, the Court will
consider Plaintiff's submission.
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule
complaint to survive dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), it "must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'"* Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombfy, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
accept all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. See Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny,
515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008). "Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level." Twombfy, 550 U.S. at 555.
Furthermore, "[a] pleading that offers 'labels and
conclusions' .. . will not do. Nor does a complaint
suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of
'further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (citations omitted).
Liberal Pleading Standard for Pro Se Litigants
pro se litigant's complaint is held to
"less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). Courts have a duty to construe pleadings
liberally and apply the applicable law, irrespective of
whether a pro se litigant has mentioned the law by
name. See Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d
239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013). A pro se complaint
"can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if
it appears 'beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him
to relief.'" Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976) (quoting Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21);
see also Bacon v. Minner, 229 Fed.Appx. 96, 100 (3d
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