St. Louis Record

Friday, September 20, 2019

Man's motion for judgment on pleadings against Chase over credit card balance denied


By Charmaine Little | May 25, 2019

ST. LOUIS – A former Chase bank customer could not prove the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in the Eastern Division did not have supplemental jurisdiction in his motion for judgment in his lawsuit against the financial institution on May 2.

Andrew Ketterman sued Chase over allegations that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. He initially sued in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County on May 11, 2018, but the case was removed to the current court on June 13, 2018. Ketterman alleged Chase distributed inaccurate information to credit report agencies concerning a credit card he said his ex-wife opened without his “permission or knowledge,” according to Judge John A. Ross.

In January, Chase filed a counterclaim against Ketterman, stating that it gave him a credit card in 2014, but he defaulted on his payments. It sued for $5,285.60 for the allegedly unpaid amount and court costs, including attorneys’ fees. Chase's counterclaim against Ketterman is over allegations of breach of contract, suit on account and unjust enrichment. 

Ketterman moved for a judgment on the pleadings, arguing the federal court did not have supplemental jurisdiction. He also said Chase’s claims were time-barred based on Delaware’s statute of limitations. 

"Chase argues that its counterclaim is compulsory because both the (Fair Credit Reporting Act) claims and the counterclaims are centered on the same issue, i.e., whether Ketterman is liable on the account, and if so, in what amount," the ruling states.

Ross disagreed with Ketterman’s petition and denied it.

Regarding jurisdiction, Ross said the previous cases Ketterman attempted to use to back his point “are not determinative because claims under the (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) or (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) are not premised on the existence or validity of an underlying agreement with, or debt to, defendant,” said Ross.

Ross pointed out that a plaintiff has to prove that a defendant called their cellphone using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) without their consent in order to prove their case. As for FDCPA, a plaintiff has to prove that they have been subject to collection activity as it relates to consumer debt. 

Considering this, Ketterman’s FCRA allegation wasn’t reliant on Chase’s breach of contract counterclaims. So, Chase’s counterclaims are from the same “transaction or occurrence” as Ketterman’s FCRA claims, meaning they are compulsory, which also means that the court does have supplemental jurisdiction.

The court also examined Ketterman’s argument about the counterclaims being time-barred. The ruling states Chase never alleged a date of the incident, but Ketterman said his final payment was on Sept. 4, 2015, and Chase closed the account on Nov. 5, 2015. Chase did not file its counterclaims until January 2019.

“Because it is not clear from the face of the parties’ pleadings that Chase’s counterclaim is time-barred… the court will deny Ketterman’s motion and allow the parties to further develop the record,” Ross wrote.

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