United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint filed by Defendants Huron Law Group West Virginia,
PLLC; Huron Law Group, PLLC; GRT Financial, Inc.; and Zero
Debt, LLC (collectively “Named Defendants”). ECF
No. 19. For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS
IN PART the Named Defendants' motion,
DISMISSES Count One as it pertains to Named
Defendants, and DENIES IN PART for the
filed the Class Action Complaint with the Court on January
10, 2018. Compl., ECF No. 1. Named Defendants
responded on April 6, 2018 with a Motion to Dismiss. ECF No.
11. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Class Action
Complaint on April 19, 2018. Am. Compl., ECF No. 17.
In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Named Defendants
procured a consumer report on her and improperly used
information in the report to determine her eligibility for
debt consolidation services, and solicit her for the same.
Am. Compl., ¶¶ 24-55.
alleged collaborative process which led to the mailers is as
follows: First, Plaintiff claims Doe Corporation I
(“Doe I”) allegedly prepared information which
constitute a “consumer report” under the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). Id.
¶ 35. Doe I then sold these consumer reports to Doe
Corporation II (“Doe II”), and Doe II used this
information to compile lists to resell to other businesses,
including Named Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 22-23.
Companies, including Named Defendants, then used this
information to assess the potential eligibility for debt
consolidation services by identifying consumers who maintain
high credit balances and targeted them in a “joint
venture to advertise and sell debt consolidation
services.” Id. ¶¶ 24, 29-32, 40-41.
Amended Complaint raises three claims under the FCRA,
including that (Count 1) Doe I and Doe II furnished
Plaintiff's consumer report to Named Defendants for an
impermissible purpose and that (Count 2) Doe II and (Count 3)
Named Defendants accessed and used Plaintiff's consumer
report without properly certifying a permissible purpose,
under false pretenses, and without a permissible purpose.
Id. ¶¶ 77-90. Plaintiff further purports
to represent a class of similarly situated persons, under
Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id.
motion to dismiss putative nonresident class members for lack
of personal jurisdiction is evaluated under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(2). “When a district court considers a question
of personal jurisdiction based on the contents of a complaint
and supporting affidavits, the plaintiff has the burden of
making a prima facie showing in support of its
assertion of jurisdiction.” Universal Leather, LLC
v. Koro AR, S.A., 773 F.3d 553, 558, 560 (4th Cir.
2014). In conducting its analysis, “the district court
must construe all relevant pleading allegations in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, assume credibility, and draw
the most favorable inferences for the existence of
jurisdiction.” Id. at 558.
federal district court may only exercise personal
jurisdiction over a [nonresident defendant] if such
jurisdiction is authorized by the long-arm statute of the
state in which it sits and application of the long-arm
statute is consistent with the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment . . . .” Consulting Engineers
Corp. v. Geometric Ltd., 561 F.3d 273, 277 (4th Cir.
2009); see also Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115,
1121 (2014). “Because the West Virginia long-arm
statute is coextensive with the full reach of due process, .
. . the statutory inquiry necessarily merges with the
Constitutional inquiry.” In re Celotex Corp.,
124 F.3d 619, 627-28 (4th Cir. 1997) (citations omitted).
comport with this due process requirement, a district court
may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over a defendant
only if he has “sufficient minimum contacts with the
forum state such that the maintenance of the suit does not
offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Consulting Engineers Corp., 561 F.3d
at 277 (internal quotation marks omitted). This inquiry
“focuses on the relationship among the defendant, the
forum, and the litigation.” Walden, 134 S.Ct.
at 1121 (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, a court
must focus upon “contacts that the defendant himself
creates” and only such contacts “with the forum
State itself, not [merely] the defendant's contacts with
persons who reside there.” Id. at 1122
(internal quotation marks omitted). A court must do
“more than formulaically count contacts, instead taking
into account the qualitative nature of each of the
defendant's connections to the forum state.”
Tire Eng'g & Distribution, LLC v. Shandong
Linglong Rubber Co., Ltd., 682 F.3d 292, 301 (4th Cir.
2012). Thus, “a single act by a defendant can be
sufficient to satisfy the necessary quality and nature of
such minimal contacts, although casual or isolated contacts
are insufficient to trigger an obligation to litigate in the
forum.” Id. (internal quotation marks
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is evaluated
under the Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard. In Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the
United States Supreme Court stated courts must look for
“plausibility” in the complaint. 550 U.S. at 555.
This standard requires a plaintiff to set forth the
“grounds” for an “entitle[ment] to
relief” that is more than mere “labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Id. (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). Accepting the factual
allegations in the complaint as true (even when doubtful),
the allegations “must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . .”
Id. (citations omitted).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme
Court reiterated that Rule 8 does not demand “detailed
factual allegations[.]” 556 U.S. at 678 (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). However, a mere
accusation” is insufficient. Id. “To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Facial plausibility exists when a claim contains
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted).
The Supreme Court continued by explaining that, although
factual allegations in a complaint must be accepted as true
for purposes of a motion to dismiss, this tenet does not
apply to legal conclusions. Id. “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Id. (citation omitted). Whether a plausible claim is
stated in a complaint requires a court to conduct a
context-specific analysis, drawing upon the court's own
judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual
Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, Named Defendants
state dismissal is merited on three grounds. Named Defendants
argue (1) a lack of personal jurisdiction, (2) a failure to
sufficiently allege any claim under the FCRA, and (3) a
failure to allege any action by Named Defendants to
sufficiently state a claim against them in Count One of the