Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Collectarius Financial, LLC v. Statebridge Company, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

February 9, 2018

COLLECTARIUS FINANCIAL, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
STATEBRIDGE COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Susan C. Bucklew, United States Disirict Judge.

         This cause comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 6). Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. No. 34). As explained below, Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. Standard of Review

         Defendant moves to dismiss this case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue its claims.[1] In this case, Defendant makes a factual attack on the Court's subject matter jurisdiction, and as such, the following standard of review applies:

Attacks on the court's subject-matter jurisdiction are either facial or factual attacks. “In a factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction, a district court can ‘consider extrinsic evidence such as deposition testimony and affidavits.' In so doing, a district court is ‘free to weigh the facts' and is ‘not constrained to view them in the light most favorable' to the plaintiff.”

Araya-Solorzano v. Government of Republic of Nicaragua, 562 Fed.Appx. 901, 905 n.4 (11th Cir. 2014)(internal citations omitted)

         II. Background

         Defendant Statebridge Company, LLC provides mortgage loan services for lenders and other mortgage holders. As part of its services, Defendant retains counsel to pursue foreclosures.

         Beginning in 2014, Defendant retained the Law Offices of Damian G. Waldman P.A. (“Waldman Law”) to provide legal services for Defendant related to the foreclosure lawsuits. (Doc. No. 7, ¶ 3). Plaintiff Collectarius Financial, LLC alleges in its complaint that Defendant was indebted to Waldman Law in the amount of $429, 547.75 (“the Waldman Debt”). On November 14, 2017, Plaintiff paid Waldman Law ten dollars “and other good and valuable consideration” in exchange for an assignment of the Waldman Debt to Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 34-1, Ex. D). As a result of the assignment, Plaintiff contends that it now owns the Waldman Debt and that Defendant owes it $429, 547.75.

         Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in state court in Lee County, Florida. In its complaint, Plaintiff asserts three claims: (1) open account, (2) unjust enrichment, and (3) account stated. Defendant removed the case to the Fort Myers Division of the Middle District of Florida, and the case was later transferred to this Court in the Tampa Division. Currently pending before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss.

         III. Motion to Dismiss

         Defendant moves to dismiss this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that Plaintiff lacks standing to pursue its claims. Specifically, Defendant contends that Waldman Law's assignment of the Waldman Debt to Plaintiff violated certain ethical rules of the Florida Bar, [2] and as such, the assignment (which is Plaintiff's basis for standing) is void because it is against public policy.

         Contracts that violate public policy are void and will not be enforced by the courts. See Stewart v. Stearns & Culver Lumber Co., 48 So. 19, 25 (Fla. 1908). As explained by one court:

Parties to a contract are generally free to contract “out of” or “around” state or federal law, but they may not enter a contract that is void as a matter of public policy. Public policy empowers this Court to decline enforcement of a contract. Public policy is defined as: “Community common sense and common conscience, extended and applied throughout the state to matters of public morals, health, safety, welfare, and the like; it is that general and well-settled public opinion relating to man's plain, palpable duty to his fellowmen, having due regard to all circumstances of each particular relation and situation.” Contracts that are contrary to public policy are void because they have no legal sanction and establish no legal bond between the parties. To be void as matter of public policy the contract must have a bad tendency or contravene the established interests of society. Under Florida law, a contract that violates public policy is void and unenforceable. The rationale of the rule is that the judiciary as an institution will not provide aid to enforce an obligation that arises from an illegal contract. To determine whether a contract violates public policy courts must look to established law, primarily to statutes and secondarily to decisions of the courts.

Neiman v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 217 F.Supp.2d 1281, 1286 (S.D. Fla. 2002)(internal citations omitted). Defendant points to the following Florida Bar ethical rules and opinions violated by Waldman Law's assignment of the Waldman Debt to Plaintiff.

         A. Ethical Rules

         Rule 4-1.6(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation of his or her client unless: (1) the client gives informed consent, or (2) one of the Rule's exceptions applies. One exception contained in Rule 4-1.6(c)(2) is that “[a] lawyer may reveal confidential information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary . . . to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and client.”

         Defendant contends that Waldman Law's assignment of the Waldman Debt to Plaintiff will violate this ethical rule of confidentiality, because Defendant disputes the amount of the debt owed. Rule 4-1.5(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct provides that a lawyer's fee must be reasonable, and Rule 4-1.5(b) provides the factors to be considered when determining the reasonableness of the fee.[3] Since Defendant intends to challenge the reasonableness of the Waldman Debt, confidential information relating to Waldman Law's representation of Defendant will likely be revealed. Therefore, Defendant argues that the assignment violates its right to confidentiality, because a challenge to the reasonableness of the fees being collected will likely lead to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.