United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Dismiss (DN 31), Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment
(DN 32, DN 33), Defendants' Motions for Leave to Seal
Documents (DN 34, DN 36), and Defendants' Motions for
Leave to File a Sur-Reply and for Oral Argument (DN 41, DN
44). These motions are now ripe for adjudication. For the
reasons that follow, Plaintiff's motion to dismiss is
GRANTED, Defendants' motions for summary
judgment are DENIED AS MOOT, Defendants'
motions for leave to seal documents are
GRANTED, and Defendants' motions for
leave to file sur-reply and for oral argument are
Statement of Facts
Coretta Crenshaw (“Crenshaw”) previously
defaulted on credit card debt, which debt was purchased by
Defendants Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
(“Portfolio”) and Midland Funding, LLC,
(“Midland Funding”). (Am. Compl. ¶ 11, DN
22). On November 5, 2013, Midland Funding filed suit against
Crenshaw in Barren District Court, ultimately receiving a
default judgment in the amount of $703.14. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 35-41). On November 4, 2015, Portfolio filed
suit against Crenshaw in Barren District Court, receiving a
default judgment in the amount of $776.18. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 12-17). On June 19, 2018, Crenshaw reviewed a
tri-merge credit report that showed both default judgments
and tradelines as provided by Portfolio and Defendant Midland
Credit Management (“Midland Credit”) on behalf of
Midland Funding. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 18-20, 42-43).
August 16, 2018, Crenshaw filed a complaint against
Portfolio, Midland Funding, and Midland Credit (collectively
“Defendants”) alleging multiple violations of the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (Compl. ¶¶ 27,
34, DN 1). On April 3, 2019, Crenshaw filed an amended
complaint. (Am. Compl.). On September 13, 2019, Crenshaw
moved to dismiss her claims with prejudice as to all
defendants pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2). (Pl.'s Mot.
Dismiss, DN 31). Later that same day, all Defendants moved
for summary judgment. (Defs.' Mots. Summ. J., DN 32, DN
Defendants then moved for leave to seal documents related to
the motions for summary judgment. (Defs.' Mots. Leave
Seal, DN 34, DN 36). Defendants responded in opposition to
Crenshaw's motion to dismiss, and Crenshaw replied.
(Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s Mot. Dismiss, DN 38, DN 39;
Pl.'s Reply Mot. Dismiss, DN 40). Finally, Defendants
moved for leave to file a sur-reply and for oral argument
regarding Crenshaw's motion to dismiss. (Defs.' Mots.
Leave Sur-Reply & Oral Arg., DN 41, DN 44). Crenshaw
responded in opposition, and Defendants replied. (Pl.'s
Resp. Defs.' Mots. Leave Sur-Reply & Oral Arg., DN
42, DN 45; Defs.' Reply Mots. Leave Sur-Reply & Oral
Arg., DN 43, DN 46)
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action via
federal question pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
Amended Complaint alleges violations of the FDCPA, which
presents a federal question. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 54-56).
Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice
has moved to voluntarily dismiss all claims with prejudice as
to all Defendants pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 41(a)(2).
Defendants oppose this motion claiming they will suffer
“legal prejudice” if it is granted.
Civ. P. 41(a)(2) provides that “[e]xcept as provided in
Rule 41(a)(1), an action may be dismissed at the
plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that
the court considers proper.” Whether to grant such a
dismissal is within the sound discretion of the district
court. Banque de Depots v. Nat'l Bank of
Detroit, 491 F.2d 753, 757 (6th Cir. 1974). The district
court should not approve voluntary dismissal if the defendant
will suffer “plain legal prejudice” as a result
of a dismissal without prejudice. Grover v. Eli Lilly
& Co., 33 F.3d 716, 718 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations
omitted). When assessing plain legal prejudice, the court
should consider factors such as: (1) the defendant's
effort and litigation expenses, (2) excessive delay and lack
of diligence on the part of plaintiff, (3) insufficient
explanation of the need for dismissal, and (4) whether a
motion for summary judgment has been filed by defendant.
Id. (citing Kovalic v. DEC Int'l, Inc.,
855 F.2d 471, 474 (7th Cir. 1988)). “These factors are
only a guide, however, and the trial judge ultimately retains
discretion to grant the motion to dismiss.” Malibu
Media, LLC v. Ricupero, 705 Fed.Appx. 402, 407 (6th Cir.
2017) (citing Rosenthal v. Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc., 217 Fed.Appx. 498, 502 (6th Cir. 2007)).
first glance, these factors appear to weigh slightly against
granting the voluntary motion to dismiss with prejudice.
First, this case has been pending for more than one year, and
Defendants claim they have spent substantial sums of money in
defense-roughly $25, 000 by Portfolio and $21, 000
collectively by Midland Funding and Midland Credit.
(Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s Mot Dismiss). All Defendants are
represented by the same counsel, however, so it does appear
that litigation costs are split between all three Defendants.
Second, beyond the one-year timeline and lack of expert
witness by Crenshaw, Defendants have not demonstrated
excessive delay or a lack of diligence on the part of
Crenshaw. Third, Crenshaw does not provide any explanation
for why she is requesting to have all of her claims
dismissed. Fourth, Defendants have filed a motion summary
judgment, but they did not do ...