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Miller v. Trans Union LLC

February 28, 2007

KEVIN D. MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRANS UNION LLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John F. Grady, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, Kevin D. Miller, filed this action asserting claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and Illinois law. He alleges that defendants Trans Union LLC, ("TransUnion"), Experian Information Systems, Inc. ("Experian"), and Supportkids, Inc. ("Supportkids") willfully and negligently violated the FCRA by respectively disclosing and obtaining his consumer report for impermissible purposes. Plaintiff further asserts that in violating the FCRA, defendants also violated two Illinois consumer-protection statutes and committed the tort of invasion of privacy.

Plaintiff has filed a motion for "partial summary judgment" on the issue of whether defendant Supportkids had a "permissible purpose" under 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a) to access his consumer report. Supportkids has filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing that it is entitled to summary judgment on all counts because it had a permissible purpose under 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A) to access the report. (Def. Mem. S.J. at 7.) Defendants Experian and TransUnion were served with the parties' respective motions. They have elected not to join in Supportkids's motion. For the reasons discussed below, both of the summary judgment motions are denied.*fn1

BACKGROUND

The relevant facts are taken from the parties' L.R. 56.1 filings.*fn2 Only those facts or additional facts that comply with L.R. 56.1 are considered in resolving these motions. Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Where the parties disagree over relevant facts, we will set forth the competing versions; genuine factual disputes are resolved in the non-movant's favor. Foley v. City of Lafayette, 359 F.3d 925, 928 (7th Cir. 2004).

Plaintiff is a natural person and a citizen of the state of Indiana. (Def. 56.1 SAF ¶ 25.) Defendant Supportkids is a Texas corporation; its principal place of business is Austin, Texas. (Id. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff and Supportkids have been acquainted with each other for several years because Supportkids has been retained by two women on separate occasions to collect child-support payments from plaintiff.

In August 1999, Angela Miller, plaintiff's ex-wife and the mother of Kevin Y. Miller, plaintiff's biological son, entered into a written agreement authorizing Supportkids to collect any and all past-due support payments from plaintiff. (Def. 56.1 SAF ¶ 28.) On or about October 13, 2004, Alisa Sidbury, mother of Kiona Sidbury, plaintiff's biological daughter, entered into a similar written agreement with Supportkids.*fn3 (Pl. Resp. Def. 56.1 SOF ¶ 47; Def. 56.1 SAF ¶ 33.)

Supportkids requested and received plaintiff's consumer report from TransUnion on March 25, 2005 and from Experian on October 14, 2004 and October 13, 2005. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) Supportkids maintains that it accessed plaintiff's consumer report in order to collect a debt on Alisa Sidbury's behalf. (Def. 56.1 SOF ¶ 35.) Plaintiff does not deny that he owes AS money; rather, he maintains that a child-support debt is not a "credit transaction" and thus Supportkids lacked a permissible purpose to access his consumer report. Plaintiff further contends that, even if he was indebted to AS, Supportkids obtained his consumer report under false pretenses. According to plaintiff, Supportkids's true motivation was to retaliate against him for filing a False Claims Act suit against Supportkids in September 2003. (Pl. 56.1 SAF ¶ 48.)

Plaintiff became aware of Supportkids's requests in April 2006 (Def. 56.1 SAF ¶ 11) and filed the instant action on May 24, 2006.

Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

Rule 56(c) provides that summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, a district court views the record and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Foley, 359 F.3d at 928.

The Respective Summary Judgment Motions

Plaintiff has moved for "partial summary judgment" on the issue of whether Supportkids had a permissible purpose to obtain his consumer report. Supportkids has filed a cross-motion for a summary judgment that it had a permissible purpose to obtain plaintiff's consumer report, which it argues is a complete defense to all of plaintiff's claims.

The respective motions address the complex interaction of different provisions of the FCRA. The legal issues are further complicated by legislative amendments to the FCRA, the impact of which has not been thoroughly considered by the judiciary or the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC"). Before dealing with the specific legal issues raised by the motions, it ...


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