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Victor Gulley v. Pierce & Associates; Codilis & Associates

December 6, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge:


Victor Gulley has filed a pro se lawsuit against U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee of BNC Mortgage Loan Trust 2007-1, and two law firms, Codilis & Associates, P.C. and Pierce and Associates, P.C., for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and against U.S. Bank for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The defendants have moved to dismiss Mr. Gulley's claims for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Pierce and U.S. Bank's motions and grants Codilis' motion in part.


The case concerns a mortgage loan that Mr. Gulley obtained from BNC Mortgage, Inc. to purchase the property located at 459 W. 126th Place in Chicago. BNC assigned Mr. Gulley's mortgage to U.S. Bank. During May and June 2008, Mr. Gulley sent four requests to U.S. Bank seeking to verify his debt. He alleges that he never received verification.

Around July 9, 2008, U.S. Bank began calling Mr. Gulley three to four times a day to attempt to collect the debt. These included calls to his place of employment and to other family members. Mr. Gulley does not allege the specific dates of several of these calls. At some point during this period, Mr. Gulley sent a letter to U.S. Bank stating that he did not want any communications with anyone other than himself.

In September 2008, Codilis filed a mortgage foreclosure suit on behalf of U.S. Bank against Mr. Gulley in state court. In the suit, U.S. Bank alleged that Mr. Gulley had not made his mortgage payments since May 1, 2008. On November 3, 2008, Mr. Gulley sent another debt verification request, this time to Codilis. According to Mr. Gulley, he received no answer. He also alleges that while U.S. Bank's suit was pending in state court, Codilis made several debt collection attempts by sending him "notifications," the last of which it sent in July 2009. Codilis then terminated communications with Mr. Gulley, without any advance warning.

U.S. Bank obtained a judgment of foreclosure. In July 2009, a state court judge entered an order approving the foreclosure sale, and a deed was recorded conveying the property to U.S. Bank.

On January 8, 2010, Pierce filed a state court eviction suit on behalf of U.S. Bank against a third party who was occupying the property. Mr. Gulley alleges that several of Pierce's actions relating to the eviction suit violated the FDCPA. These include proceeding with collection of the debt despite knowing that it had not been verified, contacting a third party about the debt, failing to inform Mr. Gulley of his rights under the FDCPA, and distributing "a written communication which simulated or falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court [or] agency of the United States or any State, or which create[d] a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval." Compl. at 3.

Mr. Gulley also claims that U.S. Bank violated the FCRA by failing to inform credit reporting agencies (CRAs) that his debt was in dispute, failing to update his file with accurate information, and providing inaccurate information to CRAs. In addition, Mr. Gulley contends that U.S. Bank failed to investigate the disputed debt and inform CRAs of its findings.

According to Mr. Gulley, the defendants' actions negatively affected his credit score and resulted in a denial of credit at reasonable rates. He seeks to recover compensatory and punitive damages.


Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), 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). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court accepts as true all facts alleged by the plaintiff and draws reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2010).

"[T]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). But "a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent ...

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