United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 21, 2004.
SAMANTHA PATTERSON, Plaintiff,
ASSET ACCEPTANCE CORP., Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Samantha Patterson brought this pro se action
against Asset Acceptance Corporation (Asset Acceptance) for
violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., and the Fair Credit Reporting Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Along with her complaint plaintiff filed a
petition to proceed in forma pauperis.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) we may authorize plaintiff to
proceed in forma pauperis if she demonstrates an inability to
pay the required costs and fees. In her financial affidavit
plaintiff states that she is currently unemployed, has no assets,
and receives only $275 a month to support herself and her two
children. Plaintiff has evidenced her financial need.
Our inquiry does not end there, however. As part of the initial
review of a petition to proceed in forma pauperis we analyze
the claims and dismiss the complaint if we determine that the
action is frivolous or malicious, it fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks damages from a defendant
who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Alston v. Debruyn, 13 F.3d 1036, 1039
(7th Cir. 1994). For purposes of this decision we take
petitioner's allegations as true. See Zimmerman v. Tribble,
226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff alleges that Asset Acceptance informed credit
reporting agencies that she owed the collection company for debts
related to two accounts, SBCILLIN1484 and SBCINDIA14079620
(presumably two SBC accounts in Illinois and Indiana), without
verifying the accuracy of the underlying debts. After learning of
these blemishes on her credit reports, plaintiff sent Asset
Acceptance a letter dated May 19, 2004, disputing the debts and
requesting verification of the overdue accounts. Plaintiff claims
that she has not received any verification, and presumably Asset
Acceptance has not had the credit reporting agencies remove the
information from plaintiff's credit report.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act seeks to protect
consumers from abusive means of collecting debts.
15 U.S.C. § 1692(e). Under § 1692g(b), if a consumer disputes a debt in
writing within thirty days of being informed of the debt, a debt
collector must cease all efforts of collection until the
collector receives verification of the debt, a copy of the
judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and
mails that information to the consumer. Debt collectors are
liable to consumers for violations of this statute for any actual
damages and other damages up to $1,000. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k. Given
the allegation in plaintiff's pro se complaint we do not find
that her action is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim under this act.
Plaintiff has not stated a claim under the Fair Credit
Reporting Act, however. The purpose of the Fair Credit Reporting
Act is to require that "consumer reporting agencies adopt
reasonable procedures" to provide the credit industry with
information, while treating consumers fairly and equitably.
15 U.S.C. § 1681(b). A consumer reporting agency is any person or
entity that assembles and evaluates credit information on
consumers to provide to third parties. 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f).
Asset Acceptance is not alleged to be a consumer reporting
agency. It is a debt collection company that has provided
information to a consumer reporting agency. A company that furnishes information to a consumer
reporting agency is not liable under the Fair Credit Reporting
Act, and thus, plaintiff fails to state a claim against Asset
Acceptance under this statute. See Rush v. Macy's New York,
Inc., 775 F.2d 1554, 1557 (11th Cir. 1985); Batchelor v.
First National Bank of Blue Island, 1993 WL 22859 at *3 (N.D.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's petition to proceed in
forma pauperis is granted as to her Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act claims and dismissed as to her Fair Credit
Reporting Act claims.
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