In Raab v. Nationwide Collection Agencies, Inc., 2013 WL 53760 (W.D.Mich. 2013), Judge Bell found Plaintiff’s threadbare FDCPA claim that defendant wrongfully threatened to garnish her wages failed to state a claim.
The statutory violations alleged are simply a formulaic recitation of the prohibitions contained in the statutes. Plaintiff has not alleged what Defendant said or did to represent or imply that Defendant was an attorney or was communicating on behalf of any attorney; what Defendant said or did to represent or imply that nonpayment of the debt would result in unlawful garnishment or garnishment that was not intended; what Defendant said or did to threaten to take action that could not legally be taken and /or that was not intended to be taken; what required notice Defendant failed to provide; or what Defendant said or did to act in an otherwise deceptive, unfair, and unconscionable manner. Based on the meager factual allegations in paragraphs 8–11, it appears that the gravamen of Plaintiff’s complaint is that Defendant threatened to garnish Plaintiff’s wages if the subject debt was not paid in full, and that Defendant made this threat before filing a lawsuit or obtaining a judgment. This allegation is not sufficient to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. The allegation that Defendant threatened to garnish Plaintiff’s wages before obtaining a judgment raises the possibility that Defendant might impermissibly attempt garnishment without first obtaining a valid judgment against Plaintiff on the underlying debt. However, the same allegation also raises the possibility that Defendant intended to lawfully garnish Plaintiff’s wages after obtaining a judgment on the underlying debt. In other words, Plaintiff’s allegations, while consistent with liability, are equally consistent with nonliability. Thus, the pleadings fail to raise Plaintiff’s claims from the merely possible to the plausible. See McSorely v. Merchs. & Med. Credit Corp., Case No. 1:10–CV–1115 (W.D.Mich. Apr. 30, 2012) (holding that threadbare allegations that merely state a possible claim under the FDCPA fall short of making a plausible claim). Plaintiff responds that while it is “possible” that the original creditor may have intended to file a lawsuit against the Plaintiff for the underlying debt, it would be impossible for Defendant to file such a suit because Defendant is neither a law firm nor the original creditor. Plaintiff contends that Defendant was clearly trying to imply that it possessed the potential and authority to garnish Plaintiff’s wages when, even with a judgment on the underlying debt, Defendant did not possess any ability to garnish wages because it was neither a law firm nor the original creditor. Although Plaintiff has suggested the possibility that Defendant did not have authority to carry out the threat of garnishment, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant lacked the ability, on behalf of its client, to forward the claim to outside counsel for suit. Plaintiff’s threadbare allegations suggest a possible claim, but they lack sufficient factual allegations to rise to the level of a plausible claim. Plaintiff has failed to plead sufficient factual content that would allow the Court to draw the reasonable inference that Defendant lacked the ability or intention to commence a debt collection lawsuit on behalf of its client.