CONTRACTS

Verification of Complaint • Insufficient Pleading of Facts • Chain of Title • Breach

Asset Acceptance, LLC v. Kuhne, PICS Case No. 14-0378 (C.P. Northampton Feb. 2014) Baratta, J. (9 pages).

Where averments were signed by an in-house/employee/agent of plaintiff with an acknowledgement of authorization to make verification, such verification satisfied the requirement of Rule 1024(a); and where a plaintiff attached a true and correct copy of a credit agreement that was in effect during the year the credit account was opened, the plaintiff had sufficiently plead a prima facie case for breach of contract against a credit account; and where a plaintiff assignee of a credit account attached a pooled bill of sale assigning interest in the credit account to its complaint and averred that it was the owner of the account in question, it established that was the real party in interest. Overruled.

Defendant Dale Kuhne filed preliminary objections in this action brought by plaintiff Asset Acceptance, LLC, to recover balance and interest due on a credit account between the defendant and plaintiff’s predecessor in interest. In his objections, defendant alleged that the verification of plaintiff’s complaint was improper, as it was verified by plaintiff’s attorney and not by plaintiff; and that plaintiff’s complaint was insufficiently plead and the credit agreement attached to the complaint was illegible; and that the bill of sale evidencing plaintiff’s ownership of the credit account in question did not establish a chain of title between plaintiff and its predecessor in interest.

The court rejected defendant’s first argument. It noted that if the verification is not signed by the party appearing in the caption in the case, it should indicate that it had been made by a duly authorized officer or agent of the captioned party. The court found that plaintiff’s complaint was verified by the in-house counsel/managing attorney and employee/agent of plaintiff, and that the individual further established that he was authorized to make verification on behalf of the plaintiff.

The court also rejected defendant’s argument that plaintiff’s complaint was insufficiently pled. The court noted that a breach of contract action against a credit account holder required the plaintiff to submit the cardholder agreement, a complete statement of account, and evidence of ownership of the debt; the court further noted that a true and correct copy of an unsigned credit agreement that established the terms and conditions of the account met these requirements. In the case, the court found that the plaintiff had attached a true and correct copy of the agreement upon which the account was established, which, in addition to monthly account summaries and evidence of ownership, properly pled a viable breach of contract claim.

Finally, the court rejected defendant’s contention that the bill of sale offered by plaintiff as evidence of its ownership of the account in question was insufficient to prove plaintiff’s ownership of defendant’s account. Although defendant argued that the bill of sale was insufficient because it purportedly showed a purchase of a pool of accounts and did not include any account information specific to defendant, the court found that the bill of sale, along with plaintiff’s averment that it was the owner of the account, was enough to establish its ownership.