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Hampton v. Barclays Bank Delaware

United States District Court, D. Kansas

November 21, 2018

ANTHONY J. HAMPTON, Plaintiff,
v.
BARCLAYS BANK DELAWARE, et al, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          K. GARY SEBELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the court upon Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (ECF No. 67); Defendant Marketplace Loan Grantor Trust, Series 2016-LD1's Motion to Strike First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 54); and Defendants Equifax Information Services LLC and Equifax Lie's Motion to Strike First Amended Verified Complaint, or in the Alternative, Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Verified Complaint (ECF No. 61). For the reasons stated below, the motion to amend is granted. Marketplace Loan Grantor Trust's motion to strike is denied as moot. Equifax Information Services LLC and Equifax Lie's motion is denied as to the request to strike plaintiffs amended complaint. The district judge will resolve the portion of the motion that seeks dismissal.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Anthony J. Hampton, pro se, filed this case on July 13, 2018. The complaint asserts claims against Defendants Discover Bank, Marketplace Loan Grantor Trust (MLGT) for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCP A), 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. and claims against Defendants Barclays Bank Delaware, Discover Bank, Loan Depot, LLC, Equifax, Inc., Equifax Information Services, LLC, Experian Information Solutions, hie, and TransUnion, LLC for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. Beginning on August 8, 2018, defendants began filing motions to dismiss, arguing that plaintiff lacked standing to assert certain claims or that plaintiffs complaint did not state a claim for relief, or both.[1] On September 17, 2018, plaintiff filed an amended complaint without leave of the court or consent of the opposing parties.[2] Defendants Barclays Bank Delaware and TransUnion, LLC filed answers.[3] MLGT moved to strike the amended complaint, [4] and Discover Bank and Loan Depot moved to dismiss.[5] The Equifax defendants moved to strike, or in the alternative, to dismiss.[6] To date, Experian Information Solutions, Inc. has not responded to the amended complaint.

         On October 23, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion to amend, which essentially seeks belated permission to have filed his amended complaint. Plaintiffs amended complaint changes the name of Loan Depot, LLC to Loandepot.com, LLC. Multiple paragraphs clarify which claims plaintiff asserts against which defendant, and plaintiff adds two new paragraphs of factual allegations.

         The motions to strike argue that the court should strike the amended complaint because plaintiff filed it without first obtaining leave of the court. Because plaintiff subsequently moved for leave to amend, the court's analysis will focus on whether to grant leave to amend rather than whether the amended pleading should be stricken because it was filed without leave. The court recognizes that the pro se plaintiff cites Rule 15(c) as the basis for his motion. This subsection governs the relation back of amendments. Because the court must liberally construe pro se litigants' filings, [7] the court will analyze the motion as a motion to amend brought pursuant to Rule 15(a)(2) rather than a motion concerning the relation-back doctrine.

         II. Discussion

         When leave of the court is required to amend under Rule 15(a)(2), the court may refuse leave "only [upon] a showing of undue delay, undue prejudice to the opposing party, bad faith or dilatory motive, failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, or futility of amendment."[8] "The court should freely give leave when justice so requires."[9] Defendant MLGT is the only defendant that opposes plaintiffs motion, and it does so on futility grounds, arguing that the motion to amend is futile for the same reasons outlined in MLGT's motion to dismiss plaintiffs complaint. As the party opposing the amendment, MLGT bears the burden of establishing its futility.[10]

         "A proposed amendment is futile if the complaint, as amended, would be subject to dismissal."[11] Typically, the court analyzes the proposed pleading using the same standard as a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).[12] "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.'"[13] The court accepts as true "all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and view[s] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff"[14] A formulaic recitation of elements does not satisfy the plausibility standard.[15] Rather, plaintiff must offer sufficient factual allegations to support each claim[16] "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense."[17] "While the 12(b)(6) standard does not require that [a plaintiff] establish a prima facie case in her complaint, the elements of each alleged cause of action help to determine whether [p]laintiff has set forth a plausible claim."[18]

         MLGT argues that plaintiffs proposed amended complaint is futile because it does not address the two issues raised in MLGT's motion to dismiss-that plaintiff lacks standing to assert claims against MLGT and that plaintiffs claims against MLGT fail to state a claim for which relief may be granted. In short, MLGT contends that plaintiffs claims are futile for the same reasons stated in MLGT's pending motion to dismiss.

         This court has previously addressed the argument that allowing an amended complaint would be futile because the amended pleading contains the same defects as the original pleading. In both cases, the court rejected this argument.[19] The court reasoned that "evaluating futility requires consideration of the proposed amendments, not claims previously pled."[20] Although "the court may take up a motion to dismiss and a motion to amend at the same time, effectively analyzing both a complaint and a proposed amendment, it serves no practical purpose to screen claims previously pled when the court is only ruling on a motion to amend."[21] This is because "in the event the court would deny the motion to amend, these claims would remain" as pled in the original complaint.[22]

         This is the case here. Plaintiffs proposed amendments are mostly technical and do not involve new claims or new parties. Applying the same logic set forth above, MLGT has not demonstrated how the proposed amendments to plaintiffs complaint would render his claims futile. Because of this, plaintiffs motion to amend is granted. The court permits plaintiffs amended complaint (ECF No. 48). MLGT's motion to strike and the Equifax defendants' request to strike are denied as moot. MLGT and Experian have fourteen (14) days from the date of this order to answer or otherwise respond to plaintiffs amended complaint.

         Accordingly, IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (ECF No. 67) is granted.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant Marketplace Loan Grantor Trust, Series 2016-LDI's Motion to Strike First ...


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