United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Brian T. Roberts, Plaintiff,
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
M. HERLONG, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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. 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
Factual and Procedural History
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.
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
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.)
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.
Discussion of the Law