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Ali v. USAA Federal Savings Bank

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 28, 2016

Leshae Ali, Plaintiff,
USAA Federal Savings Bank, Defendant.


          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Leshae Ali's (“Plaintiff”) Motion to Dismiss Defendant USAA Federal Savings Bank's (“Defendant”) Counterclaim. (Doc. 18). Defendant filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 22), and Plaintiff filed a Reply in Support of Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 23). The Court now rules on the motion.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         This action concerns Plaintiff's savings account opened with Defendant prior to December 2015. (Doc. 1 at 3; Doc. 15 at 2). On December 11, 2015, Plaintiff noticed a substantial deficit in her account and suspected that she was a victim of fraud. (Doc. 1 at 3). On the same day, Plaintiff called Defendant to report the suspected fraud and dispute the deficit in her account. (Id.)

         With no response from Defendant, Plaintiff called Defendant again on January 14, 2016. (Doc. 1 at 3; Doc. 15 at 3). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's representative advised her that the requisite steps were not taken to process the claim during the December 11th conversation. (Doc. 1 at 3). Plaintiff then asked Defendant's representative to investigate the deficit and provide an explanation. (Doc. 1 at 4). On January 28, 2016, Plaintiff received a notice dated January 21, 2016 stating that the investigation was complete, there were no fraudulent transactions, and Plaintiff could call to request copies of documents and information used to make the determination. (Id.)

         On February 1, 2016, Plaintiff called Defendant to request the documents and information referenced in the letter. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's representative told Plaintiff that she was not likely entitled to receive any documentation and would follow up within forty-eight hours if she was in fact entitled to the information. (Doc. 1 at 4; Doc. 15 at 4). Plaintiff called Defendant two days later and Defendant's representative informed her that she was not entitled to receive any documentation. (Doc. 1 at 4).

         In making this determination, Defendant alleges that “Plaintiff authorized a third party to deposit sums into, withdraw sums from, and/or otherwise access the Accounts by providing her account information and login credentials” to that third party. (Doc. 15 at 7). As a result, Defendant argues it owed Plaintiff no duty of disclosure under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (“EFTA”). (Id.) Defendant further alleges that because the allegedly fraudulent withdrawals were authorized, Plaintiff's unpaid, overdrawn accounts constitute a breach of the Consumer Agreement signed by both parties upon initiation of the savings account. (Doc. 15 at 7-8).

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint to recover damages under EFTA on February 15, 2016. (Doc. 1). Then, on April 6, 2016, Defendant filed an Amended Answer to Complaint and Counterclaim (“Counterclaim”) alleging an Arizona state law breach of contract claim. (Doc. 15). In its Counterclaim, Defendant asserts supplemental jurisdiction arising out of the federal question jurisdiction asserted in the Complaint. (Id.) On April 27, 2016, Plaintiff moved to dismiss the Counterclaim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. (Doc. 18).


         A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(1) allows a party to move to dismiss a claim based on “lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A Rule 12(b)(1) subject-matter jurisdiction challenge may be raised at any time by the parties or the Court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

         The Court is “free to hear evidence regarding jurisdiction and to rule on that issue prior to trial, resolving factual disputes where necessary. In such circumstances, no presumptive truthfulness attaches to [a claimant's] allegations, and the existence of disputed material facts will not preclude the trial court from evaluating for itself the merits of jurisdictional claims.” Roberts v. Corrothers, 812 F.2d 1173, 1177 (9th Cir. 1987) (internal quotations and citations omitted). However, if the jurisdictional issue is dependent on the resolution of factual issues relating to the merits of the case, the Court applies the Rule 12(b)(6) standard to the Rule 12(b)(1) motion, and assumes that all of the allegations in the claim are true. Id. “Dismissal is then appropriate where it appears beyond doubt that the [claimant] can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.” Id. (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) (internal quotations omitted)).

         B. Supplemental Jurisdiction over Counterclaims

         The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over a counterclaim if the counterclaim is so related to the complaint “that they form part of the same case or controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (2012). Under Rule 13, a party must state compulsory counterclaims and may state permissive counterclaims in the party's initial pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 13(a)-(b). A compulsory counterclaim is a claim against the other party at the time of service that “arises out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the ...

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