Smith v. Navient Corporation
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Magistrate Judge Staci G Cornelius on 6/9/16. (MRR, )
2016 Jun-09 PM 01:12
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ELLISHA L. SMITH,
Case No.: 2:15-cv-02315-SGC
Plaintiff, Ellisha L. Smith, initiated this matter by filing a pro se complaint
in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama. (Doc. 1-1 at 6). Defendant,
Navient Corporation, timely removed to this court on the basis of diversity and
federal question jurisdiction.
Soon after removal, the undersigned
granted Defendant’s motion for a more definite statement (Doc. 5), and Ms. Smith
filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 6). Although the three-sentence-long amended
complaint necessarily does not provide much in the way of detail, it appears this
matter arose from a debt Ms. Smith owed Defendant.
Presently pending is Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 7). Ms. Smith
has responded (Doc. 11) and submitted a number of documents (Doc. 12). The
parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c). (Doc. 13). As explained below, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss will be
Standard of Review
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides the standard
applicable to Ms. Smith’s claims. Specifically, a pleading must contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” and
"a demand for the relief sought.” FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(1). As explained by the
Supreme Court, “a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does
not need detailed factual allegations,” but must include more than “labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action’s elements will not do.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). 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.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 679 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief is a fact-specific determination to be made by the court,
drawing on judicial experience as well as common sense. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Twombly instructs courts to accept the complaint’s purely factual allegations as
true and determine whether those facts support a claim. Id. Although pro se
pleadings are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers," a pro se complaint must show the plaintiff could prove facts to support a
claim for relief. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
The entirety of Ms. Smith’s handwritten amended complaint reads as
Navient Corporation did not verify that I, Ellisha L. Smith owe
“alleged” debt of $116, 350.67 owed. Therefore, Navient Corporation
is in dishonor of my notice of counter offer / counter demand of debt
settlement. I would like the court to declare the “alleged” debt of
$116, 350.67 null and void.
(Doc. 6 at 1). Additionally, the documents submitted by Ms. Smith provide some
context—they are comprised of notarized correspondence from Ms. Smith to
Defendant and appear to show that Ms. Smith attempted to bind Defendant to some
sort of unilateral contract. (Doc. 12). Ms. Smith also appears to contend that
Defendant's failure to respond to her correspondence obligates Defendant to pay
her more than $400,000,000.
(Doc. 12 at 6).
Although it is unclear what
significance Ms. Smith attaches to these documents, it is clear they have no legal
Liberally construed, Ms. Smith's amended complaint could be seen as an
attempt to assert claims for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §
1681, et seq., violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §
1692, et seq., or breach of contract. However, the amended complaint asserts no
facts, other than Defendant's failure to "verify" her debt, resulting in Defendant's
"dishonor." Even applying the more liberal requirements applicable to pro se
pleadings, it is clear that Ms. Smith cannot assert facts to support any claim for
relief.1 Accordingly, Ms. Smith's amended complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted and is due to be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
A separate order will be entered.
DONE this 9th day of June, 2016.
STACI G. CORNELIUS
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
It is worth noting that this is Ms. Smith's second attempt to state claims against Defendant. The
court's order granting Defendant's motion for a more definite statement explained the prior
complaint's deficiencies and the type of information required to state a claim under Iqbal and
Twombly. (See generally Doc. 5).
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