United States District Court, D. New Jersey
VINCENT LAMONACA, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
FIRSTSTATES FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP., Defendant.
A. FRANCIS FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C. Attorney for Plaintiff
MARCEL DEASEY, MAHONEY & VALENTINI LTD LAUREN MICHELLE
STEINS DEASEY, MAHONEY & VALENTINI LTD Attorney for
Defendant FirstStates Financial Services Corp.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns various federal and state statutory and common
law claims arising out of a collection notice (the
“Notice”) sent by Defendant FirstStates Financial
Services Corp. to Plaintiff Vincent LaMonaca on May 15, 2018.
Currently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings (“Motion for
Judgment”). For the following reasons, this Court will
grant Defendant's Motion for Judgment, in part, and deny
it, in part.
Court takes its facts from the pleadings in this matter. The
facts are not in dispute and are straightforward. On October
23, 2016, Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident
in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Chester Fire Department was
dispatched to the scene of the accident, but provided no
assistance to Plaintiff. At some point thereafter,
Pennsylvania Fire Recovery Service attempted to collect $600
from Plaintiff for the services rendered by the Chester Fire
collection failed, collection was forwarded to Defendant to
complete. Defendant added a collection fee of $200.40 to the
$600 forwarded. On May 15, 2018, Defendant sent the Notice to
Plaintiff in an attempt to collect the Chester Fire
Department's service fees and its own collection fee. The
Notice stated, in relevant part, the following:
PA Fire Recovery Service has retained our
firm to collect $800.40. The entire balance of this debt is
now due and payable because you failed to pay the obligation
as agreed. Payment should be mailed to the above address and
checks or money orders made payable to
FirstStates Financial Services
Unless within thirty (30) days after receiving this letter
you notify me that you dispute the validity of the debt, or
any portion thereof, I will assume the debt to be valid.
If you notify me in writing within the thirty (30) day period
that the debt, or any portion of it, is disputed, I will
obtain verification of the debt and send a copy to you.
Upon written request within the thirty (30) day period I will
provide you with the name and address of the original
creditor if different from PA Fire Recovery
Please be advised that if a suitable resolution
has not been made within thirty (30) days of this
correspondence, your account may be reported to the Credit
Bureau. If reported, it may have a negative effect on how
creditors respond to your credit requests and how they manage
your credit accounts.
I AM ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT A DEBT, AND ANY
INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.
(Pl.'s Compl., Ex. A.)
filed the instant action against Defendant on July 19, 2018.
The Court notes there is also a related action (1:18-cv-11419
(NLH/KMW)) before this Court, against Pennsylvania Fire
Recovery Services. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the
following ten counts: (1) violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”); (2)
violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act
(“NJCFA”); (3) violations of the New Jersey Truth
in Consumer Contract Warranty Notice Act
(“NJTCCWNA”); (4) violations of the Pennsylvania
Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law
(“PCPL”); (5) violations of the Pennsylvania Fair
Credit Extension Uniformity Act (“PFCEUA”); (6)
common law fraud; (7) common law equitable fraud; (8) common
law invasion of privacy; (9) negligent infliction of
emotional distress; and (10) intentional infliction of
filed its Answer on October 1, 2018. On October 23, 2018,
Defendant filed the instant Motion for Judgment. On November
20, 2018, after filing his opposition brief, the parties
filed a stipulation of dismissal of Counts 3, 8, 9, and 10.
Accordingly, the Motion for Judgment is fully briefed and
ripe for adjudication.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Standard
12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings may be filed after
the pleadings are closed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c); Turbe v.
Gov't of V.I., 938 F.2d 427, 428 (3d Cir. 1991). In
analyzing a Rule 12(c) motion, a court applies the same legal
standards as applicable to a motion filed pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6). Turbe, 938 F.2d at 428. Thus, 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).
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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 583 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416
U.S. 232, 236(1974)); see also Phillips v. Cty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (stating the
“Supreme Court's Twombly formulation of
the pleading standard can be summed up thus: ‘stating .
. . a claim requires a complaint with enough factual matter
(taken as true) to suggest' the required element. This
‘does not impose a probability requirement at the
pleading stage,' but instead ‘simply calls for
enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery
will reveal evidence of' the necessary element”). A
court need not credit either “bald assertions” or
“legal conclusions” in a complaint when deciding
a motion to dismiss. In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec.
Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1429-30 (3d Cir. 1997). The
defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been
presented. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744,
750 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Kehr Packages, Inc. v.
Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir. 1991)).
addition, “on a motion for judgment on the pleadings,
” a court “reviews not only the complaint but
also the answer and any written instruments and exhibits
attached to the pleadings.” Perelman v.
Perelman, 919 F.Supp.2d 512, 520 n.2 (E.D. Pa. 2013).
Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
challenges every count of Plaintiff's complaint, arguing
for its dismissal in its entirety. The Court will not address
Defendant's argument concerning Counts 3, 8, 9, and 10.
Both parties have stipulated to the dismissal of these claims
after Defendant filed the instant motion. ...