United States District Court, D. New Jersey
H. RODRIGUEZ U.S.D.J.
matter is before the Court on Defendant JTM Capital's
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 (b). The Court
has considered the written submissions of the parties without
oral argument pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 78 (b). For the
reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is denied.
Francy Arango contends that she is alleged to owe a consumer
debt to Defendant JTM Capital (“JTM”). JTM hired
Defendant Summit Receivables (“Summit”) to
collect the Arango debt. Plaintiff claims that Summit's
collection efforts violate the Fair Debt Collections
Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et
seq. and seeks to hold JTM vicariously liable for
Summit's violations. JTM argues that because it is not a
debt collector as defined by FDCPA, Plaintiff's claims
must be dismissed.
to Dismiss Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss
“for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted[.]” For a complaint to survive dismissal under
Rule 12(b)(6), it must contain sufficient factual matter to
state a claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is
facially plausible “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. Further, a plaintiff must
“allege sufficient facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will uncover proof of her
claims.” Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809
F.3d 780, 789 (3d Cir. 2016). In evaluating the sufficiency
of a complaint, district courts must separate the factual and
legal elements. Fowler v. UFMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 210-11 (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.”). The Court “must
accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true,
” Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210, “and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
for relief.” Connelly, 809 F.3d at 787
(citations omitted). Restatements of the elements of a claim,
however, are legal conclusions and, therefore, not entitled
to a presumption of truth. Burtch v. Milberg Factors,
Inc., 662 F.3d 212, 224 (3d Cir. 2011).
enacted the FDCPA “to eliminate abusive debt collection
practices, to ensure that debt collectors who abstain from
such practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to
promote consistent state action to protect consumers.”
Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich
LPA, 559 U.S. 573, 577 (2010) (citing 15 U.S.C. §
1692(e)). The FDCPA is remedial legislation and “must
be broadly construed in order to give full effect to these
purposes.” Douglass v. Convergent Outsourcing,
765 F.3d 299, 302 (quoting Caprio v. Healthcare Revenue
Recovery Grp., LLC, 709 F.3d 142, 148 (3d Cir. 2013)).
term “debt collector” is defined by the FDCPA as
The term “debt collector” means any person who
uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails
in any business the principal purpose of which is the
collection of any debts, or who regularly collects
or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or
due or asserted to be owed or due another.
15 U.S.C. § 1692a (6) (emphasis added). “The
statute thus provides two separate paths to establishing an
entity's status as a ‘debt collector.'”
Barbato v. Greystone All., LLC, 916 F.3d 260, 265
(3d Cir. 2019) (citing Henson v. Santander Consumer USA
Inc., 137 S.Ct. 1718, 1721 (2017).
argues that because it is a passive debt purchaser and not an
entity that actively collects debt it does not meet the
statutory definition of a debt collector under either prong
of the definition. The Court disagrees.
the Third Circuit considered whether an entity that meets the
principal purpose definition is a debt collector as defined
by the FDCPA even when that entity hires a third party to
collect the debt. Barbato, 916 F.3d at 267-68. The
Appellant in Barbato, Crown Asset Management, was a
purchaser of the debts on which a consumer has stopped making
payments. Id. at 262. In certain cases, including
Barbato's case, Crown itself did not collect on the debt
and referred the charges to a third-party for collections.
Id. Barbato filed a state court action against
Crown's third-party servicer, Greystone Alliance, LLC,
alleging that Greystone violated the FDCPA in its attempt to