United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division
JESSICA COTTLE, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MONITECH, INC., Defendant.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on defendant's motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff has responded,
defendant has replied, and the matter is ripe for ruling. For
the reasons that follow, defendant's motion is granted
and this matter is dismissed.
is a maker and installer of ignition interlock devices, a
device which prevents a vehicle from operating if the
driver's blood alcohol exceeds the legal limit
established by the state. In North Carolina, defendant leases
its ignition interlock devices to individual drivers for
installation on their personal vehicles. On July 23, 2016,
defendant installed one of its ignition interlock devices in
plaintiffs car. The same day, plaintiff signed an Install
Verification and Lease Agreement naming plaintiff as the
lessee and defendant as the lessor. [DE 1], Cmp. Ex. A. The
lease provided that the initial lease term was for twelve
months for a total obligation of $900. Id. The lease
further provided that six payments of $150 would be required
(paid every, sixty days), and that the first sixty-day
payment of $150 was due on the day the lease was signed.
filed this action on July 3, 2017, as a putative class action
against defendant for failure to comply with the requirements
of the Consumer Leasing Act of 1976 (CLA). 15 U.S.C. §
1667, et seq. In 1968, the Truth in Lending Act
(TILA) was enacted to
assure a meaningful disclosure of credit terms so that the
consumer will be able to compare more readily the various
credit terms available to him and avoid the uninformed use of
credit, and to protect the consumer against inaccurate and
unfair credit billing and credit card practices.
15 U.S.C. § 1601(a). The CLA was enacted as an amendment
to the TILA to apply "truth-in-lending protections to
commercial leases." Koons Buick Pontiac GMC, Inc. v.
Nigh, 543 U.S. 50, 55 (2004) (citing 90 Stat. 257).
Accordingly, the CLA
assure[s] a meaningful disclosure of the terms of leases of
personal property for personal, family, or household purposes
so as to enable the lessee to compare more readily the
various lease terms available to him, limit balloon payments
in consumer leasing, enable comparison of lease terms with
credit terms where appropriate, and to assure meaningful and
accurate disclosures of lease terms in advertisements.
15 U.S.C. § 1601(b).
complaint, plaintiff alleges that the terms of
defendant's ignition interlock device lease failed to
comply with the CLA and its implementing regulations,
specifically Regulation M. 12 C.F.R. § 1013.1 et
seq. Regulation M requires that disclosures in a lease
be made in a clear, conspicuous, and, for some specific
disclosures, segregated manner. Plaintiff further alleges
that the defendant's lease is not "substantially
similar" to a model form provided in the regulations as
is required. Plaintiff brings her claims on behalf of herself
and a putative class of persons consisting of, inter
alia, all persons to whom defendant has leased an
ignition interlock device for personal, family, or household
purposes with an initial lease term of more than four months
and for which the lease is currently in force or was
terminated on or after July 3, 2016.
has moved to dismiss plaintiffs complaint in its entirety
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Rule 12(b)(1) authorizes dismissal for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
When subject matter jurisdiction is challenged, the plaintiff
has the burden of proving jurisdiction to survive the motion.
Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647-50 (4th
Cir. 1999). "In determining whether jurisdiction exists,
the district court is to regard the pleadings'
allegations as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider
evidence outside the pleadings without converting the
proceeding to one for summary judgment." Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States,
945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991). To this end, "the
nonmoving party must set forth specific facts beyond the
pleadings to show that a genuine issue of material fact
exists." Id. (citing Trentacosta v.
Frontier Pacific Aircraft Indus., 813 F.2d 1553, 1558-59
(9th Cir. 1987)).
12(b)(6) motion tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint.
Papasan v. Attain, 478 U.S. 265, 283 (1986). When
acting on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), "the
court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and
should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff." Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7
F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir.1993). A complaint must allege
enough facts to state a claim for relief that is facially
plausible. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). Facial plausibility means that the facts
pled "allow the court to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged,
" and mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action
supported by conclusory statements do not suffice.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
concerns the Court's subject matter jurisdiction, the
Court considers first defendant's argument that plaintiff
lacks Article III standing to bring her claims. U.S. Const,
art. Ill. § 2. The standing question is one that asks
"whether the litigant is entitled to have the court
decide the merits of the dispute or of particular
issues." Worth v. Seldin,422 U.S. 490, 498
(1975). In order to establish Article III standing, a
plaintiff must show "(1) it has suffered an injury in
fact; (2) there exists a causal connection between the injury
and conduct complained of; and (3) a favorable judicial
ruling will likely redress the injury." Virginia ex
rel. Cuccinelli v. Sebelius,656 F.3d 253, 268 (4th Cir.
2011) (internal quotation omitted). To demonstrate that she
has suffered an injury in fact, plaintiff must ...