United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
DERRICK K. WATSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action alleges violations of the Protecting Tenants in
Foreclosure Act (PTFA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (FDCPA), and various state law provisions. Compl., Dkt. No.
1. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motions
to dismiss (Dkt. Nos. 17, 19) are GRANTED as to Kaauamo's
PTFA and FDCPA claims, the defects of which cannot be cured
by amendment. Because these federal claims are the
only federal claims asserted in this case premised
on jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §1331, and because there
is no reason for this Court to exercise its discretion
otherwise, the Court declines supplemental jurisdiction over
the remaining state law claims. Those state law claims are
therefore also DISMISSED, albeit without prejudice.
Spring 2018, Legacy Development purchased the real property
located at 942 Akaiki Place, Wailuku, Maui, Hawai‘i
(the "Property"). Compl. ¶¶5, 7. Kaauamo
had been a lessee of the Property for five years at the time
it was foreclosed on by Wells Fargo and sold to Legacy.
Compl. ¶¶5, 8, 9. Legacy retained Maui Process
Services (MPS) and MPS employee, Christopher Williams, to
assist with evicting Kaauamo. Compl. ¶6; Dkt. No. 17 at
December 14, 2018, the MPS and Legacy
Defendants separately filed motions to dismiss. Dkt
Nos. 17, 19. Collectively, these motions assert that: (1)
Kaauamo failed to state a PTFA claim because her lease was
void and, thus, she had no right to possession of the
Property; (2) Kaauamo failed to state a PTFA claim because
she is not a bona fide tenant within the meaning of
the Act; (3) Kaauamo failed to state a FDCPA claim because
none of the defendants are “debt collectors”
within the meaning prescribed by the FDCPA; and (4) the
Complaint is incomprehensible and should be re-pled under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e). In addition, the Legacy Defendants argue
that they were not properly served.
supplemental briefing (Dkt. Nos. 36-37, 40), the parties also
addressed the impact of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine
on this case and whether the PTFA claim is barred for the
additional reason that it affords no private right of action.
This disposition follows.
Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes the Court to
dismiss a complaint that fails “to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.” Rule 12(b)(6) is read in
conjunction with Rule 8(a), which requires “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Pursuant to
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “[t]o 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.'” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). In addition, “the tenet that a court
must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a
complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”
Id. Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather, “[a] claim
has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). Factual allegations that only permit the court
to infer “the mere possibility of misconduct” do
not show that the pleader is entitled to relief as required
by Rule 8(a)(2). Id. at 679.
Pro Se Status
Kaauamo is proceeding pro se, the Court liberally construes
her filings. Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137
(9th Cir. 1987). With that in mind, “[u]nless it is
absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect . . .
a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the
complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend
prior to dismissal of the action.” Lucas v.
Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995).
court, however, may deny leave to amend where, inter
alia, amendment would be futile. Gardner v.
Martino, 563 F.3d 981, 990 (9th Cir. 2009);
Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Publ'g, 512 F.3d
522, 532 (9th Cir. 2008).
at times difficult to decipher, the gravamen of Kaauamo's
federal claims focus on two elements: (1) that her eviction
violates the PTFA, and (2) that the means employed by
Defendants to effectuate her eviction violate the FDCPA.
Because neither theory can be sustained under the
circumstances presented here, ...