United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER ON MISCELLANEOUS MOTIONS
E. SELF, III, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
motions are presently pending in the above-captioned case. As
explained below, the Court GRANTS
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint [Doc. 7] and
authorizes her to assert new claims against the present
Defendants and add Educational Credit Management Corporation
as a defendant. The Court also DENIES
Defendant Helms Career Institute's Motion to Dismiss
[Doc. 5] and Motion for Hearing [Doc. 6] as
moot and DENIES Plaintiff's
Motion to Reply to Answer [Doc. 13] and Motion to Quash
Subpoena [Doc. 14].
original Complaint, pro se Plaintiff Angeles Ford cursorily
alleged that Defendant Bass and Associates
(“Bass”) and Defendant Helms Career Institute
(“Helms”), violated 18 U.S.C. § 1028.
See generally [Doc. 1]. That provision makes it a
crime to, inter alia, “knowingly and without
lawful authority produce[ ] an identification document,
authentication feature, or a false identification
document.” 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(1). Specifically,
Plaintiff claimed that Bass “put [her] in hardship
since 2018 over a false document.” [Doc. 1, p. 4].
Plaintiff further alleged that she and Helms are citizens of
Georgia, Bass is a citizen of Arizona, and the amount in
controversy is $10, 438.02. [Id. at pp. 1-4]. On
these facts, Plaintiff claimed subject-matter jurisdiction
through both diversity and federal-question jurisdiction.
[Id. at p. 3].
moved to dismiss the original Complaint under Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). [Doc. 5]. Helms
argued that 18 U.S.C. § 1028 cannot form the basis of
federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and
that there is not complete diversity of citizenship under 28
U.S.C. § 1331. [Id. at pp. 2-4]. Moreover,
Helms argued that Plaintiff's failure to allege specific
facts against Helms warranted dismissal for failure to state
a claim. [Id. at pp. 4-6]. Helms requested that the
Court dismiss the action or, in the alternative, order
Plaintiff to file a more definite statement under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). [Id. at p. 6].
days after Defendant moved to dismiss, Plaintiff filed a
Motion to Amend Complaint [Doc. 7], in which she seeks to add
claims and a new party to the action. In the Motion,
Plaintiff seemingly contends that non-party Educational
Credit Management Corporation (“ECMC”) attempted
to collect a debt against her in 2015 in connection with a
falsified document signed in her name in 2007. [Doc. 7-3, pp.
2, 3]. Although she disputed the debt, Plaintiff had to file
for bankruptcy in 2017, at which time the debt was
discharged. [Id. at pp. 3-4]. In October 2018, the
United States Department of Education and Helms, an
educational entity, engaged Bass to collect another debt in
connection with the allegedly false document, despite
Plaintiff never attending Helms. [Id. at pp. 1, 3,
5]. The collection of this debt caused the Department of
Education to garnish Plaintiff's federal tax refund.
[Id. at p. 5].
result of these actions, Plaintiff claims Defendants and
ECMC, individually or jointly, violated several federal civil
and criminal laws, including:
• The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692e, 1692f-prohibiting debt collectors from
using false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unconscionable
representations or means in connection with the collection of
• The Consumer Financial Protection Act, 12 U.S.C.
§§ 5531(a) & (c), 5536- prohibiting consumer
financial product providers from engaging in unfair,
deceptive, or abusive acts in connection with providing or
offering financial products or services;
• The Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §§
1091(a), 1094(a)-requiring, inter alia, that
students who receive grants or loans from the federal
government be enrolled in qualified education programs and
prohibiting education institutions from providing students
with loans in excess of the amount they are eligible to
• 18 U.S.C. § 1002-criminalizing knowing possession
of falsified documents with intent to defraud the United
• 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a), (c), & (d)-criminalizing
falsification of identification documents.
[Id. at pp. 3, 5].
of ECMC's alleged involvement arises from the same
falsified document giving rise to Plaintiff's claims
against Bass and Helms, Plaintiff also seeks leave under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20 to join ECMC as a party to
this case. [Id. at pp. 8-11]. For jurisdiction
purposes, Plaintiff also clarifies in her Motion to Amend
that she and Helms are citizens of Georgia, Bass is a citizen
of Arizona, and ...