Judge Dismisses Complaint Against Collector For Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has denied a collection agency’s motion to dismiss a complaint that it violated state law in Georgia and Pennsylvania as moot, instead dismissing the complaint on his own, ruling that the Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the state law claims.

A copy of the ruling in the case of LeBoon v. DS Waters of America and Collection Bureau of America can be accessed by clicking here.

The dispute arose out of a contract that the plaintiffs signed to rent a water dispenser and have jugs of water delivered to their home. The plaintiffs noticed an entry on their credit report about a debt owed to one of the defendants. The entry allegedly cost the defendants $30,000 when they obtained a mortgage. The plaintiffs filed suit, alleging the defendant violated state laws by failing to arbitrate the dispute before reporting it to the credit reporting agencies. The defendants failed to investigate the amount of the disputed debt, failed to review the information he provided, and failed to report the inaccurate nature of the information, the plaintiff claimed.

The collection agency defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiffs complaint failed to state any claim for relief. The plaintiff “liberally” alleged violations of Section 1681(i) and 1681s-b(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Section 1692e(8) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The issue, according to Judge Chad Kenney of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is that the plaintiff filed the complaint in federal court, but did not make any claims that the defendants violated federal law. The plaintiff’s allegations “do not raise any federal issue,” Judge Kenney wrote.

Taking matters into his own hands, Judge Kenney dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff did not assert a federal question.

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