United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
KRISTIN S. HILL, Plaintiff,
BAYSIDE WOODS, HOA INC., COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION SERVICES OF INDIANA, PAYLEASE WEB, EADS, MURRAY AND PUGH PC, Defendants.
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, JUDGE
pending before the Court are Defendant Bayside Woods, HOA
Inc.'s (“Bayside”) Motion to Dismiss, [Filing
No. 22], and Defendant Eads, Murray and Pugh, PC's
(“EMP”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings,
[Filing No. 26], on pro se Plaintiff Kristin S. Hill's
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”)
claims, [Filing No. 4]. Ms. Hill opposes both motions.
[Filing No. 34; Filing No. 45.] For the reasons that follow,
the Court grants the pending motions. [Filing No. 22; Filing
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary, the
statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Bell
Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c)
“is governed by the same standards as a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6).” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742
F.3d 720, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2014). A motion to dismiss asks
whether the complaint “contain[s] 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, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint,
the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true and draw
all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See
Active Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883,
886 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court will not accept legal
conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to state
a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago,
671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must
plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree
that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v.
Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This
plausibility determination is “a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id. When a
plaintiff “pleads [herself] out of court by making
allegations sufficient to defeat the suit, ” dismissal
under Rule 12 is appropriate. Vincent v. City Colleges of
Chicago, 485 F.3d 919, 924 (7th Cir. 2007).
following background is set forth pursuant to the applicable
standards, accepting all well-pled factual allegations
against Bayside Woods and EMP from Ms. Hill's Amended
Complaint as true. Ms. Hill did not attached any exhibits to
her Complaint or Amended Complaint. [Filing No. 1; Filing No.
4.] Thus, all representations regarding the contents of the
Bayside Woods homeowners' covenants and Ms. Hill's
correspondence with various individuals are based exclusively
on Ms. Hill's allegations and accepted as true for these
March 2012, Robert Ritter purchased a Bayside Woods
condominium in Carmel. [Filing No. 4 at 2.] Prior to closing,
Mr. Ritter was provided a copy of the Declaration of the
Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions at Bayside Woods
(the “Covenants”). [Filing No. 4 at 2.] Mr.
Ritter's daughter-Ms. Hill-moved her belongings into the
condominium shortly thereafter, but she did not live in it
until late May 2012. [Filing No. 4 at 2.] On April 23, 2012,
Bayside Woods “sent Ritter a letter stating that their
BBQ grill had damaged the siding of the building around the
patio area and therefor it was their responsibility to have
it repaired.” [Filing No. 4 at 2.] Ms. Hill contacted
Meredith Reese, the community manager, “to inform her
that the BBQ grill on the patio was not theirs; it was left
by the prior owner . . . .” [Filing No. 4 at 2.] Ms.
Reese asked Ms. Hill to put her dispute in writing, and she
did. [Filing No. 4 at 2-3.] Specifically, Ms. Hill stated
that the BBQ grill belonged to the previous owner, she did
not use it, and no one lived in the condominium until after
Bayside Woods sent the first letter about it. [Filing No. 4
at 3.] Ms. Hill concludes that “[t]herefore, we are not
responsible for the upkeep of the outside of the building and
we did not cause the damage.” [Filing No. 4 at 3.]
September 8, 2012, Ms. Hill found that the damaged siding had
been repaired. [Filing No. 4 at 3.] She contacted Ms. Reese,
who responded, “Sorry for the delay in responding. The
Board determined the repair would still be your
responsibility. We will be sending you a letter shortly with
the information; if you are in disagreement you are certainly
welcome to petition again.” [Filing No. 4 at 3.] In a
subsequent communication, Ms. Reese told Ms. Hill that the
Board vote had been unanimous and that “[t]he damage is
the owner's responsibility.” [Filing No. 4 at 3.]
October 24, 2012, Bayside Woods “sent Ritter an invoice
for $355.48” and a letter stating:
Enclosed is Invoice 94967 for a CASI maintenance service call
to replace the siding damaged by the heat of a BBQ grill.
Since the issue was deemed an “owner
responsibility” the Association is not responsible for
payment of this service. The total amount due is $355.48.
This charge [h]as been applied to your homeowner account.
[Filing No. 4 at 4.] Ms. Hill petitioned, citing the
Covenants, which provide as follows:
[T]he Association shall provide exterior maintenance upon
each lot which is subject to assessment hereunder, as
follows: . . . exterior building surfaces and other exterior
improvements. . . . In the event that the need for
maintenance or repair is caused through the willful or
negligent act of the owner, his family, guests, or invitees,
the cost of such maintenance or repairs shall be added to and
become a part of the assessment of which such Lot is subject.
[Filing No. 4 at 4.] Ms. Hill's letter to Bayside Woods
states that it “has not provided any reasonable basis
for its conclusion that we are responsible for the costs of
repairing the damage regardless of whether we caused the
damage or even that the damage was caused by a grill. If the
Association believes that the prior owners did cause the
damage the Association had the opportunity to notify them of
the damage and repair it at their expense if they didn't
challenge that . . . .” [Filing No. 4 at 4.] On
November 27, 2012, Ms. Hill sent a notarized affidavit to Ms.
Reese stating that “at no ...