Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Criddell v. Trans Union LLC

April 27, 2010

CLARKE CRIDDELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRANS UNION LLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Clarke Criddell ("Criddell") filed this suit alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. His Second Amended Complaint, filed with leave of the Court on November 20, 2009, names as Defendants Trans Union LLC ("Trans Union"), Experian Information Solutions ("Experian"), Equifax Information Services LLC ("Equifax"), Lexis Nexis d/b/a Reed Elsevier Group PLC ("Lexis"), Asset Acceptance LLC ("Asset"), Sallie Mae Servicing Corporation ("Sallie Mae"), Collection Systems Inc. ("Collection Systems"), NCO Financial Systems, Inc. ("NCO"), Torres Credit Services Inc. ("Torres"), Illinois Student Assistance Commission ("ISAC"), Popular Mortgage Servicing Inc. ("Popular Mortgage"), American Express ("AmEx"), Fifth Third Holdings LLC ("Fifth Third"), Chase Bank ("Chase"), Credit Bureau DEPA/Bank One ("DEPA"), 1st Continental Mortgage/Credit Plus ("1st Continental"), Credit Plus, Plaza Associates ("Plaza"), Markoff & Krasky LLC ("Markoff"), and DSNB/Macy's ("Macy's").

Trans Union, Experian, Equifax, NCO, Fifth Third, Credit Plus, and Macy's have answered the Complaint and filed various affirmative defenses. LexisNexis was dismissed, with prejudice, by agreement of the parties on January 26, 2010. Chase was dismissed, with prejudice, by agreement on March 11, 2010. Criddell filed a notification on January 22, 2010 stating that ISAC "was included in the complaint in error." The Court construes this as a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Criddell's claims against ISAC without prejudice, and grants the Motion. ISAC's pending Motion to Dismiss is therefore dismissed as moot.

PENDING MOTIONS

There remain four pending Motions filed by three Defendants. Asset filed a Motion for More Definite Statement and then a Motion to Strike the Second Amended Complaint, seeking a more definite statement in the form of a third amended complaint. Torres and American Express have filed Motions to Dismiss for failure to state a claim against them upon which relief may be granted. For the reasons set forth below, Asset's Motion for More Definite Statement is dismissed as moot, and its Motion to Strike is granted in part and denied in part. Torres's Motion to Dismiss is granted. American Express's Motion to Dismiss is granted.

I. Asset Acceptance's Motion for a More Definite Statement

In its Motion to Strike, Asset merely re-asserts the arguments raised in the Motion for More Definite Statement, stating that the Second Amended Complaint did not cure the deficiencies complained of in Criddell's First Amended Complaint. The Motion to Strike is therefore a mis-labeled second Motion for More Definite Statement. The Court therefore dismisses Asset's first Motion for More Definite Statement as moot, and will consider the arguments raised therein as if contained within the Motion to Strike the Second Amended Complaint. Criddell alleges that Asset is a "debt collector," "reseller," and "furnisher" of information "who regularly and in the ordinary course of business furnishes information to one or more consumer reporting agencies about consumer transactions or experiences with any consumer." (Second Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) He further alleges that Asset "willfully and negligently" failed to "validate his alleged debt and continued to report the debt to credit bureaus," "re-aged" certain accounts by updating the date of the last activity on the credit report in order to keep negative information on his credit report for a longer period of time, and obtained his credit report without his permission. (Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 52-54.)

Asset argues that these allegations are so vague and ambiguous that they cannot reasonably prepare a response, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). Asset has properly brought its Motion prior to filing a responsive pleading. Whether to grant a motion for a more definite statement falls within the discretion of the district court. See Hummel v. Wells Petroleum Co., 111 F.2d 883, 886 (7th Cir.1940). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(f), allegations of time or place are material to the sufficiency of a pleading. "[T]he reason for 'averments of time and place' is to make ascertainable whether a cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations, and that where so shown a complaint is properly dismissed on motion." Kincheloe v. Farmer, 214 F.2d 604, 605 (7th Cir.1954).

Here, Asset argues that it is unable to prepare a response because Criddell's allegations against it contain no time or place allegations that would allow Asset to consider whether a statute of limitations defense is appropriate or to otherwise evaluate the validity of Criddell's claims. Asset therefore asks that Criddell file a Third Amended Complaint specifying the debt or account that Asset allegedly improperly reported to the credit reporting agencies and the account that Asset is alleged to have "re-aged," when the debt was reported and when Criddell became aware of the report, when he disputed the report and requested that the debt be validated, and when Asset unlawfully obtained his credit report. Although some of these requests go beyond allegations as to the time of disputed events, the requested information regarding the accounts or debts in issue is within Criddell's control, and it will not be unduly burdensome for him to supplement his Complaint with these details.

As to Asset's Motion to Strike the Second Amended Complaint, Asset relies upon Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) but provides no argument that the Second Amended Complaint contains any "insufficient defense" or "redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter" as provided by the Rule. Asset's Motion to Strike the Second Amended Complaint is therefore denied in part and granted in part. The Second Amended Complaint will not be stricken; however, Asset's request for a More Definite Statement is granted.

II. Torres's and American Express's Motions to Dismiss

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true... 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In analyzing whether a complaint has met this standard, the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. The Court construes the Complaints of pro se plaintiffs liberally. See Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845-46 (7th Cir. 1999).

A. Torres Credit Services' Motion to Dismiss

Torres moves to dismiss Criddell's Second Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Specifically, Torres argues that Criddell has failed to state a claim because Torres is not a consumer reporting agency within the meaning of the FCRA, Torres was not required to validate Criddell's debt, and the FCRA expressly authorizes a debt collection agency to obtain a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.