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theus v. Ally Fin., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

April 15, 2015

RHONDA D. THEUS, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLY FINANCIAL, INC., Defendant

Page 42

RHONDA D. THEUS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Macomb, MI.

For ALLY FINANCIAL, INC., Defendant: Joshua Hunt Joseph, LEAD ATTORNEY, DYKEMA GOSSETT, Washington, DC.

Page 43

MEMORANDUM OPINION

AMY BERMAN JACKSON, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Rhonda D. Theus filed this pro se lawsuit against defendant Ally Financial, Inc. (" Ally" ) bringing claims that appear to relate to the financing and repossession of a motor vehicle. Compl. [Dkt. # 1]. Ally has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on several grounds: lack of federal subject-matter jurisdiction; insufficient service of process; and failure to state a claim. Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 6] (" Def.'s Mot." ); Mem. in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 6] (" Def.'s Mem." ). The Court finds that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this action, so the case will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a Michigan resident who filed the complaint in this case on September 8, 2014. Compl. Defendant is a Delaware corporation, and it states that its principal place of business is in Detroit, Michigan. Def.'s Mem. at 3. Although the complaint is difficult to decipher, plaintiff's allegations appear to concern a motor vehicle loan, apparently serviced by Ally, on which plaintiff owes $42,532.81. Compl. at 1-2, 8; see also Ex. 2 to Compl. [Dkt. # 1] (reflecting " payoff quote" from Ally of $42,532.81); Ex. 3 to Compl. [Dkt. # 1] at 1-2 (contract for installment sale of a vehicle to plaintiff). In the complaint, plaintiff " seeks to adequately challenge the grand theft auto of the motor vehicle in question," a 2013 Cadillac truck. Compl. at 3. She appears to contend that defendant has engaged in deceptive practices with respect to a loan on the vehicle, and she states that " [i]t shall be hereby established that Ownership of all Property is in the State; forever settling the matter of consumer credit and the protections therewith and that Plaintiff is owed all sums of interest associated with monthly obligations owed to the Defendant and to the State." Id. In addition, plaintiff claims that " Defendant cannot produce the original 'wet ink signature' note on the car loan it claims Plaintiff owes an obligation on," and that " [f]iling or producing a 'COPY' of these documents that an alleged obligation is owed on is Counterfeiting on behalf of the Defendant." Id. at 4. With respect to relief, plaintiff states that " defendants [sic] must be ordered to cease and desist with any further efforts to the motor vehicle in question and to immediately convey the property in question to Plaintiff; pay the full balance to Plaintiff or face criminal liability for suspicious activities, financial crimes and accounting frauds." Id. at 6-7 (emphasis omitted). She specifies that she seeks an award " in the amount of ($USD42,532.81)." Id. at 8.

On September 16, 2014, the Court issued an order stating: " Upon review of the complaint, it appears that plaintiff has failed to allege any facts that would indicate that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this case." Order (Sept. 16, 2014) [Dkt. # 4] at 1. The Court ordered plaintiff to show cause by October 7, 2014, why the Court had jurisdiction. Id. at 1. The Court cautioned plaintiff to keep in mind " the legal requirement of complete diversity of citizenship of the parties and the $75,000 amount in controversy requirement" under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Id. In addition, noting that plaintiff was proceeding

Page 44

 pro se, the Court advised plaintiff that failing to respond to the potentially dispositive question posed in the order could result in the dismissal of plaintiff's case. Id. at 1-2, citing Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507, 267 U.S.App.D.C. 84 (D.C. Cir. 1988).

Defendant filed the pending motion to dismiss on September 29, 2014. Def.'s Mot. The motion asked the Court to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), 12(b)(4), 12(b)(5), and 12(b)(6). Id. at 1. In addition, defendant requested that the court award it an amount equal to the costs and fees it incurred in connection with bringing its motion to dismiss. Id. On September 30, 2014, the Court issued a Fox Order that informed the pro se plaintiff that failing to respond to the motion to dismiss could result in the dismissal of her case. Fox Order [Dkt. # 8] at 1, citing Fox, 837 F.2d 507, 267 U.S.App.D.C. 84. The Court ordered plaintiff to respond to the motion to dismiss on or before October 24, 2014. Id. at 2. The Court also extended the deadline for plaintiff to respond to the September 16, 2014 order to show cause until October 24, 2014, stating that plaintiff could file one pleading in response to both that order and Ally's motion to dismiss. Id.

On October 3, 2014, plaintiff filed a pleading entitled " motion to show cause under complete diversity jurisdiction." Mot. to Show Cause Under Complete Diversity Jurisdiction [Dkt. # 9] (" Pl.'s Mot." ). Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court construes this motion to be a response to both defendant's motion to dismiss and the Court's September 16, 2014 order to show cause. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (" A document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed.'" ), quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976). Defendant filed an opposition to plaintiff's motion on October 17, 2014. Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 10] (" Def.'s Opp." ).

On October 20, 2014, the Court issued a minute order noting that defendant had asserted in both its motion to dismiss and its opposition to plaintiff's motion that its principal place of business was in Michigan. Minute Order (Oct. 20, 2014). The Court ordered defendant to " file a declaration or documentary evidence substantiating the location of its headquarters" if defendant sought " dismissal on the grounds of a lack of complete diversity." Id. Defendant filed a response to the Court's order on October 22, 2014, and attached two forms it had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (" SEC" ), which defendant contends substantiates its claim that its principal place of business is in Detroit. Resp. to Court's Oct. 20, 2014 Order Regarding Ally Financial Inc.'s Principal Office ...


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