In Gorman v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, 2013 WL 1882303 (S.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Anello addressed a Plaintiff’s FDCPA claims against his automobile finance company and the repossession company it hired. Judge Anello found that JP Morgan-Chase was not a debt collector because, as an auto finance company, it was the original creditor.
Defendant JP Morgan argues that the FDCPA does not apply to it because it is not a debt collector, but rather a creditor. In opposition, Plaintiff asserts it is unclear what role JP Morgan played in the transaction. However, Plaintiff alleges that his car loan was “financed through JP Morgan.” [FAC at 7.] Thus, the very allegations of the FAC indicate that JP Morgan was a creditor, rendering inapplicable the provisions of the FDCPA. Furthermore, upon review of the FAC, the Court finds that it is devoid of any proper allegations setting forth that JP Morgan is a “debt collector.” Thus, Plaintiff fails to state a cause of action under the FDCPA against Defendant JP Morgan. Further, the Court finds that leave to amend this claim against JP Morgan would be futile and thereby dismisses this claim with prejudice and without leave to amend.
Judge Anello found that the repossession company was exempt from the FDCPA. Judge Anello first took judicial notice of the repossession company’s license, explaining:
Here, Elias and Del Mar request the Court take judicial notice of the Repossession Agency License for Del Mar, issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, State of California. Applying Federal Rule of Evidence 201(b), the Court finds that the accuracy of this document cannot reasonably be questioned, and therefore GRANTS Defendants’ request for judicial notice.
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Similarly, Defendants Del Mar and Elias argue that the FAC fails to allege that they are debt collectors as defined by the FDCPA. Indeed, the FAC fails to adequately allege this fact. Furthermore, Defendants cite Burling v. Windsor Equity Group, Inc., 2012 WL 5330916 at *3 (C.D.Cal.2012) for the proposition that an entity engaged in the principal business of enforcing security interests, such as a repossession agency like Del Mar, is not a “debt collector” subject to the FDCPA. The Court is unable to discern from the current record whether Del Mar and Elias acted beyond that of a mere repossession agency. However, because Plaintiff fails to properly allege that Del Mar and Elias are debt collectors, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not stated a claim under the FDCPA against Del Mar or Elias.