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Will v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 24, 2019

JOHN P. WILL, Plaintiff,
v.
PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

          Marcia S. Krieger, Senior United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Class Action Complaint (#25), to which the Plaintiff failed to file a timely response.[1]

         For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court exercises jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         II. FACTS

         The facts, as recited in Plaintiff John Will’s (“Mr. Will”) Complaint (#1), are straightforward. At some point in time, Mr. Will defaulted on his debt in the amount of $7, 084.52 to Bank of America. (#1 at ¶ 1). Bank of America sold Mr. Will’s debt to Defendant Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (“PRA”).

         In an attempt to collect the debt, on March 13, 2018, PRA sent Mr. Will a letter (“Collection Letter”).[2] (#1 at ¶ 2). The Collection Letter stated that PRA is a debt collector and that Mr. Will owed a debt in the amount of $7, 084.52. (#1 at 1-2). The Collection Letter offered several options for Mr. Will to repay the debt including a 1-Month, a 12-Month, or a 24-Month payment plan. (#1 at 1-2). Due to the age of the debt and the fact that it is was beyond the applicable statute of limitations for any debt collection lawsuit, PRA’s Collection Letter provided the following disclosure, “[t]he law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it.” (#1 at 1-2). Mr. Will did not make any payments to PRA, and instead, he sued them for sending the Collection Letter.

         The Complaint alleges that the “State of Colorado has a statute of limitations that applies to prohibit the filing of lawsuits more than six years after the last payment made by a person, ” and that when the Collection Letter was sent to Mr. Will, the applicable statute of limitations had expired on the subject debt. (#1 at ¶¶ 5-6). Mr. Will alleges that because his last payment on the subject debt “was more than six years from the date of the Collection Letter, ” he had “no legal responsibility” to repay the debt.

         In addition, the Complaint alleges that the Collection Letter’s disclosure language violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because it “falsely represents the character and legal status of the Subject Time-Barred Debt, ” and unfairly fails to inform Mr. Will that “choosing any of the repayment options would restart the statutory period for another creditor or debt collector if the debt were to be sold.” (#1 at ¶¶ 8-12). The Complaint further alleges that the Collection Letter is “intentionally deceptive and confusing to consumers and [is] designed to induce payment on debts that are time-barred” (#1 at ¶63).

         Mr. Will now brings the following claims against PRA on behalf of himself and others similarly situated based on the March 13, 2018 Collection Letter: (1) an individual claim for a violation of sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA and (2) the same claim for a violation of sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA on behalf of a putative class of Colorado residents. (#1 at ¶¶ 75-112).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the Complaint as true and view those allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Stidham v. Peace Officer Standards & Training, 265 F.3d 1144, 1149 (10th Cir. 2001) (quoting Sutton v. Utah State Sch. for the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226, 1236 (10th Cir. 1999)). The Court must limit its consideration to the four corners of the Complaint, any documents attached thereto, and any external documents that are referenced in the Complaint and whose accuracy is not in dispute. Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1275 (10th Cir. 2001); Jacobsen v. Deseret Book Co., 287 F.3d 936, 941 (10th Cir. 2002); Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. v. Howsam, 261 F.3d 956, 961 (10th Cir. 2001).

         A claim is subject to dismissal if it fails to state a claim for relief that is “plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To make such an assessment, the Court first discards those averments in the Complaint that are merely legal conclusions or “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Id. at 678-79. The Court takes the remaining, well-pleaded factual contentions, treats them as true, and ascertains whether those facts (coupled, of course, with the law establishing the requisite elements of the claim) support a claim that is “plausible” or whether the claim being asserted is merely “conceivable” or “possible” under the facts alleged. Id. What is required to reach the level of “plausibility” varies from context ...


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