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Smith v. Capital One Bank USA, N.A.

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

September 12, 2016

JOSEPH SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPITAL ONE BANK USA, N.A. and MESSERLI & KRAMER, P.A., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge

         In November 2015, plaintiff Joseph Smith filed suit against defendants Capital One Bank USA, N.A. and Messerli & Kramer, P.A. in the Circuit Court for Pierce County, Wisconsin. He brought state law claims for violations of the Wisconsin Consumer Act, and federal claims for violations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arising from defendants' efforts to garnish Smith's wages following Smith's failure to pay credit card debt.[1] Messerli & Kramer removed plaintiff's case to this court on January 6, 2016.

         Now defendants move to dismiss Smith's amended complaint. Dkt. 10 and Dkt. 12. Because Smith has failed to state a federal claim upon which relief can be granted, and because Smith's state law claims are untimely, I will grant defendants' motions.

         ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

         The court draws the following facts from Smith's amended complaint, Dkt. 7, construing the allegations “in the light most favorable to [Smith], accepting as true all well- pleaded facts alleged, and drawing all possible inferences in [his] favor.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

         Smith opened a credit card with Capital One. Eventually Smith accumulated credit card debt, could not repay his balance, and defaulted on the loan. Capital One filed suit against Smith in Wisconsin state court. On May 25, 2011, the Circuit Court for Pierce County, Wisconsin entered judgment against Smith. (Smith maintains that as a result of service deficiencies, the court should not have entered judgment against him.)

         After Capital One secured a judgment against Smith, Messerli & Kramer filed an earnings garnishment notice with the circuit court on behalf of Capital One. Defendants received an authenticated copy of the notice and served the authenticated notice on Smith's employer. Smith's employer was located in Minnesota, and Smith contends that defendants did not have the authority to enforce the Wisconsin judgment “extraterritorially.”

         Smith alleges that defendants' actions amount to unlawful debt collection activities under the Wisconsin Consumer Act, and that defendants violated Smith's rights under the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution when they prepared, filed, and served Wisconsin garnishment documents on Smith's Minnesota employer. Smith brings his federal constitutional claims via 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         The court has subject matter jurisdiction over Smith's § 1983 claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, because they arise under federal law. The court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).

         ANALYSIS

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the complaint's legal sufficiency. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must provide a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8 “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do[.] . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level[.]” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         Defendants move to dismiss all of Smith's claims. For reasons discussed below, Smith has failed to state a federal claim upon which relief can be granted, and, as a result, the court will dismiss those claims. The court will also dismiss Smith's state law claims as untimely.

         A. Section 1983 claims

         To succeed on his § 1983 claims, Smith must prove: “(1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or federal law and (2) that defendants were acting under color of state law.” Wilson v. Warren County, No. 15-1939, 2016 WL 3878215, at *2 (7th Cir. July 18, 2016) (citing Armato v. Grounds, 766 F.3d 713, 719-20 (7th Cir. 2014)). Smith has not alleged facts sufficient to demonstrate that defendants violated his rights under the Dormant Commerce ...


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