Woman voluntarily dismisses debt collection suit against Midland Credit Management

By John O'Brien | Dec 12, 2013


CHARLESTON – A woman has voluntarily dismissed her complaint against Midland Credit Management after it was removed to federal court.

Hannah Rabey alleged in a lawsuit filed Nov. 7 in Putnam Circuit Court that Midland Credit Management illegally contacted her about a debt she owed.

Though Rabey filed a stipulation with her lawsuit that said she would not seek more than $75,000, Midland Credit Management removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on the grounds that she was seeking more than that.

The $75,000 amount is a threshold for federal jurisdiction. Midland Credit Management also alleged that it is a California citizen and diversity jurisdiction existed.

“Plaintiff’s attempt to limit damages in this case to defeat diversity jurisdiction is inadequate for two reasons,” the removal notice says.

“First, Plaintiff did not execute the stipulation. While stipulations may defeat diversity jurisdiction, in order to defeat diversity jurisdiction the stipulation must be a ‘formal, truly binding, pre-removal stipulation signed by counsel and his client explicitly limiting recovery. The stipulation should be filed contemporaneously with the complaint, which also should contain the sum-certain prayer for relief.’

“The requirement of a ‘formal’ stipulation is satisfied when the stipulation is signed and notarized.”

Second, the stipulation, which Midland says wasn’t signed by the plaintiff, only applied if the case remained in a state court or an Article III court.

After removal, Rabey filed a motion to remand the case back to Putnam Circuit Court, but a day later on Dec. 4 filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of the claim. Since it was dismissed without prejudice, Rabey can refile the claim.

Rabey claimed she was constantly called and annoyed by Midland after she became in arrears on her consumer debt. Rabey allegedly informed Midland she was represented by an attorney and provided his contact information for future calls.

Rabey accused Midland of constantly calling her even after providing her attorney’s contact information in violation of West Virginia code 46A-2-128(e).

Rabey accuses Midland of violating West Virginia’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act, as well as negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Rabey was represented by Benjamin M. Sheridan of Klein and Sheridan in Hurricane.

Midland Credit Management was represented by Jared M. Tully of Frost Brown Todd in Charleston.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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