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Roberts v. Ebay Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division

February 9, 2017

Brian T. Roberts, Plaintiff,
v.
Ebay Inc., Auction Insurance Agency, Centennial Casualty Insurance, Visa Inc., Thomas Adams, Jr., Paypal Inc., Steven Tisland, Alabama Department of Insurance, Jeff Cregger, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          HENRY M. HERLONG, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court with the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 of the District of South Carolina.[1] Brian T. Roberts (“Roberts”), proceeding pro se, alleges numerous state law causes of action. Defendants Steven Tisland (“Tisland”), Visa Inc. (“Visa”), PayPal Inc. (“PayPal”), and the Alabama Department of Insurance (the “Department”) individually filed motions to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In her Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Baker recommends denying Tisland's motion to dismiss and granting Visa's, PayPal's, and the Department's motions.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         This case arises out of transactions Roberts conducted on eBay's website, which allows private sellers to list items for auction or fixed-price sale. On or around August 13, 2014, Roberts contacted eBay to request it refund fees that he had been charged for sales that were not completed. (Am. Compl. ¶ 36, ECF No. 42.) Roberts avers that eBay agreed to refund $1, 200.00. (Id. at ¶ 37, ECF No. 42.) On September 22, 2014, Roberts telephoned eBay concerning his refund. (Id at ¶ 38, ECF No. 42.) Roberts avers that an eBay representative told him that eBay had made a mistake and would not issue a refund. (Id., ECF No. 42.) The next day, eBay contacted Roberts and offered him $300.00, rather than $1, 200.00. (Id. at 40, ECF No. 42.) Roberts rejected eBay's offer and submits that he has not received any refund. (Am. Compl. ¶ 41, ECF No. 42.)

         On August 20, 2014, Roberts sold a 2008 Howard Deck Boat to Jeff Cregger (“Cregger”) for $59, 995.00. (Id. at ¶ 18, ECF No. 42.) Roberts described the boat as being in “as is, where is” condition. (Id., ECF No. 42.) At some point thereafter, Cregger filed a claim through eBay's “Buyer Protection Program” because he alleged the boat was defective. (Id., ECF No. 42.) Defendant Auction Insurance Agency (“AIA”) handled the claim on eBay's behalf. (Id. at ¶ 19, ECF No. 42.) On or about November 13, 2014, Roberts' eBay account was indefinitely suspended. (Am. Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 42.) AIA ultimately settled Cregger's claim by paying Cregger $20, 000 on or about December 9, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 23, ECF No. 42.) Roberts requested that AIA deny Cregger's claim. (Id., ECF No. 42.) The payment for Cregger's claim settlement was “drawn on an account in the name of the Defendant Centennial Casualty Company” (“CCC”). (Id., ECF No. 42.)

         CCC is an insurance company licensed in the state of Alabama. (Id. at ¶ 6, ECF No. 42.) Defendant Thomas Adams, Jr. (“Adams”) is the president of CCC and AIA. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8, ECF No. 42.) Roberts alleges that Adams conspired with eBay to use AIA and CCC to defraud eBay users by illegally offering insurance to eBay users, which Roberts alleges has caused him irreparable harm. (Id. at ¶ 25, ECF No. 42.) Roberts argues that the Department negligently failed to prevent or timely stop AIA, CCC, and eBay's actions, which has also caused him irreparable harm. (Id. at ¶ 29, ECF No. 42.)

         On August 22, 2014, Roberts sold a Mazda MPV van, listed as being in “as is, where is” condition to Tisland for $2, 500. (Id. at ¶ 30, ECF No. 42.) Tisland sent Roberts an email on September 16, 2014, requesting Roberts pay for repairs that Tisland alleged the van required. (Id. at ¶ 32, ECF No. 42.) Roberts refused, stating that the car had no warranty. (Am. Compl. ¶ 32, ECF No. 42.) Several weeks later, Tisland initiated a chargeback through Visa to recoup the funds for the van. (Id. at ¶ 33, ECF No. 42.) On or about September 23, 2014, PayPal deducted approximately $2, 500 from Robert's PayPal account. Roberts disputed the chargeback with PayPal, but his request was denied. (Id., ECF No. 42.)

         Roberts filed the instant suit on December 30, 2014. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) On March 15, 2016, Tisland moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, failure to state a claim, and insufficient service of process. (Tisland Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 63.) Roberts responded to Tisland's motion on April 20, 2016. (Resp. Opp'n Tisland Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 83.) On May 2, 2016, Tisland replied. (Tisland Reply, ECF No. 93.)

         On April 11, 2016, Visa moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Visa Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 80.) Roberts responded on May 16, 2016. (Resp. Opp'n Visa Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 107.) On May 26, 2016, Visa replied. (Visa Reply, ECF No. 108.)

         On May 11, 2016, PayPal moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (PayPal Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 100.) Roberts responded on June 27, 2016. (Resp. Opp'n PayPal Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 115.) On July 7, 2016, PayPal replied. (PayPal Reply, ECF No. 116.)

         On August 24, 2016, the Department moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, judgment on the pleadings, and summary judgment. (Department Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 123.) Roberts responded on November 10, 2016. (Resp. Opp'n Department Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 130.) On November 21, 2016, the Department replied. (Department Reply, ECF No. 131.)

         Magistrate Judge Baker issued her Report and Recommendation on December 29, 2016, recommending that the court: (1) deny Tisland's motion to dismiss because Tisland failed to demonstrate the impossibility of Roberts' claims reaching $75, 000, address whether supplemental jurisdiction is appropriate, show Roberts' claim for breach of contract was not plausible on its face, and show that he was not timely served; (2) grant Visa's motion to dismiss because Roberts failed to allege actionable claims; (3) grant PayPal's motion to dismiss because Roberts lacks standing to sue PayPal and because he failed to plead a claim upon which relief may be granted; and (4) grant the Department's motion to dismiss because the court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over Roberts' claims against the Department. (R&R, generally, ECF No. 135.) Tisland filed objections on January 12, 2017. (Objs., ECF No. 140). On January 13, 2017, Roberts replied and agreed with the magistrate's recommendations. (Pl. Reply, ECF No. 141.) This matter is now ripe for consideration.

         II. Discussion of the Law

         A. ...


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