United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
W. Eginton Senior United States District Judge.
action, plaintiff Peggy Ceraldi asserts claims of violation
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”) against defendants Linda Strumpf and
U.S. Equities Corp. (“Equities”), and the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”)
against Equities. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss
on the basis of the statute of limitations, the doctrine of
Rooker-Feldman, collateral estoppel, res judicata
and failure to state a claim. For the following reasons, the
Court will deny the motion to dismiss.
U.S. Equities is a business that buys and collects defaulted
consumer debt. Defendant Strumpf is an attorney who works for
defendant Equities to collect the debts.
January 26, 2011, defendant Equities filed a complaint in
state court regarding plaintiff's default on a credit
card account. The complaint requested prejudgment interest at
a rate of 24% and post-judgment interest at a rate of 10%.
31, 2011, defendant Equities obtained a default judgment in
the amount of $33, 921.25 against plaintiff from the state
court. The state court order stated: “Judgment enters
for the plaintiff against the defendant, in the amount of
$30, 895, plus $2, 683.05 in attorneys fees, $343.20 in
costs, plus post judgment interest pursuant to General
Statutes Sec. 37-3a and General Statutes Sec. 52-356d(e).
Defendant shall make weekly payments of $35.00 commencing
three (3) weeks after the date notice was sent.”
Defendants applied a rate of 10% post-judgment interest to
the amount awarded as owing to Equities.
December 2016, defendants notified her that her balance was
$42, 894.36. By that time, she had paid more than $10, 000 on
27, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for protective order in
state court. This motion was denied for failure to pay the
filing fee to open the judgment.
September 1, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion in state court to
open the judgment. On September 18, 2017, the state court
denied plaintiff's motion to open the judgment.
filed the instant action in federal court on September 28,
2017. On October 6, 2017, plaintiff filed an appeal of the
state court's order dated September 18, 2017.
action, plaintiff has alleged that application of
post-judgment interest rate of 10% was improper without an
order from the state court quantifying the rate. She asserts
damages including the loss of filing fees, the loss of use of
her money and emotional distress.
motion to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(1) "challenges the
court's statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate
the case before it." 2A James W. Moore et. al.,
Moore's Federal Practice, ¶ 12.07, at 12-49 (2d ed.
1994). Once the question of jurisdiction is raised, the
burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction rests on
the party asserting such jurisdiction. See Thomson v.
Gaskill, 315 U.S. 442, 446 (1942).
function of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is
"merely to assess the legal feasibility of the
complaint, not to assay the weight of the evidence which
might be offered in support thereof." Ryder Energy
Distribution v. Merrill Lynch Commodities, Inc., 748
F.2d 774, 779 (2d Cir. 1984). When deciding a motion to
dismiss, the Court must accept all well-pleaded allegations
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
pleader. Hishon v. King, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984). The
complaint must contain the grounds upon which the claim rests
through factual allegations sufficient “to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A
plaintiff is obliged to amplify a ...