United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DALTON JR., United States District Judge
instant action, Plaintiffs assert claims against Defendants
for violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and
the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. (Doc. 1.)
Defendants Accelerated Claims Inc. and Halifax Health Medical
Center of Daytona Beach move to dismiss the Complaint for
failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted.
(Docs. 51, 53.) Concurrently, Defendant Florida Hospital
Memorial Medical Center moves for judgment on the pleadings
or, alternatively, summary judgment. (Doc. 62.) Plaintiffs
responded to each of Defendants' motions (Docs. 57, 63),
and Defendant Florida Hospital filed a reply in support of
its alternative motion for summary judgment (Doc. 64). For
the reasons set forth below, Accelerated Claims Inc.'s
motion to dismiss is due to be granted, and the Court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state-law claims.
January 27, 2016, Plaintiff Richard Geiger
(“Geiger”) received medical care at Florida
Hospital Memorial Medical Center (“Florida
Hospital”) for injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle
accident. (See Doc. 1, ¶¶ 1, 24.) Two days
later, on behalf of Florida Hospital and pursuant to Volusia
County's hospital lien law (“Hospital Lien
Law”), Accelerated Claims Inc. (“ACI”) sent
Geiger a copy of a hospital lien claiming the amount owed for
medical treatment-$1, 840.75. (See Doc. 1-1
(“Geiger Lien”).) The Geiger Lien indicated that
it “[did] not represent any action or judgment against
Richard Geiger” and that “it [was] limited to
only proceeds arising from automobile insurance”
(“Disclaimer”). (See id.) In addition,
the Geiger Lien identified Geico Insurance Company
(“Geico”) as the party liable for Geiger's
medical charges. (Id.)
months later, on May 1, 2016, Plaintiff Denis Twomey
(“Twomey”) received medical care at Halifax
Medical Center of Daytona Beach (“Halifax”).
(See Doc. 1, ¶ 26.) Thereafter, Halifax sent
Twomey a copy of a hospital lien claiming entitlement to the
amount of medical charges that Twomey incurred at
Halifax-$21, 777. (See Doc. 1-2 (“Twomey
Lien”) collectively with the Geiger Lien,
“Hospital Liens”.) The Twomey Lien also
identified Geico as the party liable for Twomey's damages
but did not contain a Disclaimer. (See id.)
on a recent Florida Supreme Court decision, which concluded
that Alachua County's hospital lien law was
unconstitutional under the Florida Constitution, see
Shands Teaching Hosp. and Clinics, Inc. v. Mercury Ins. Co.
of Fla., 97 So.3d 204, 207 (Fla. 2012), Plaintiffs
allege that the Hospital Lien Law is also unconstitutional
under the Florida Constitution. (Doc. 1, ¶ 21.)
Consequently, Plaintiffs contend that the Hospital Liens are
invalid. (See id. ¶¶ 8, 12.)
on the foregoing, Plaintiffs initiated the instant putative
class action alleging that Defendants violated the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act
(“FCCPA”) by asserting and attempting to collect
on the Hospital Liens. (See id ¶¶ 42-69.)
Specifically, Geiger asserts: (1) an FDCPA claim against ACI
(“Count I”); (2) an FCCPA claim against ACI
(“Count II”); and (3) an FCCPA claim against
Florida Hospital (“Count III”). Twomey asserts a
single FCCPA claim against Halifax (“Count IV”).
(Id. ¶¶ 63-69.)
Halifax now move to dismiss the Counts alleged against them
with prejudice. (Docs. 51, 53
(“MTDs”).) Florida Hospital
separately moves for judgment on the pleadings as to Count
III under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) or,
alternatively, for summary judgment. (Doc. 62.) The motions
have been fully briefed and are ripe for the Court's
pleading must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[D]etailed
factual allegations” are not required, but “[a]
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or
‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Rather, “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).
Rule 12(b)(6), a party may request dismissal of a pleading
that falls short of these pleadings requirements. In
resolving such motions, courts limit their consideration to
the face of the complaint, its attachments, “documents
incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of
which a court may take judicial notice.” See
Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S.
308, 322-23 (2007); see also Hoefling v. City of
Miami, 811 F.3d 1271, 1277 (11th Cir. 2016). Dismissal
is warranted if, assuming the truth of the factual
allegations of the complaint and drawing all reasonable
inferences in a plaintiff's favor, there is a dispositive
legal issue which precludes relief. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326 (1989); see also Bailey
v. Wheeler, 843 F.3d 473, 480 (11th Cir. 2016).
plead an FDCPA claim, a plaintiff must allege facts showing
that: (1) he has been the object of collection activity
arising from a consumer debt; (2) the defendant is a debt
collector as defined by the FDCPA; and (3) the defendant has
engaged in an act or omission prohibited by the FDCPA.
See 15 U.S.C. § 1692e; see also Reese v.
Ellis, Painter Ratterree & Adams, LLP, 678 F.3d 1211,
1216 (11th Cir. 2012); Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co.
v. Foxx, 971 F.Supp. 2d. 1106, 1114 (M.D. Fla. 2013).
ACI attacks the first two elements, contending that, under
the FDCPA: (1) the Geiger Lien is not debt collection
activity (“Debt ...