United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on defendant TransUnion,
LLC's motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 10.)
Plaintiff Freddie Brown did not respond to TransUnion's
motion. In short, TransUnion asks the Court to grant judgment
in their favor because Brown has not-and cannot-allege a
violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS TransUnion's
Brown is an inmate at Centralia Correctional Center. (Compl.
¶ 2, Doc. 1-3.) He alleges that he sent three letters
directly to TransUnion-dated in April, May, and June 2017-in
which he requested a free copy of his credit report pursuant
to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (Id. at ¶
4-7.) Brown argues that since TransUnion refused to send him
a free copy in response, he is entitled to actual, statutory,
and punitive damages. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Brown filed
his complaint in Illinois state court, but TransUnion removed
the case to this Court on the basis of federal question
jurisdiction. (Notice of Removal, Doc. 1.) This case is but
one in a bundle of cases that Illinois state prisoners have
recently filed, all with curious similarities between them.
Judgment on the Pleadings
motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(c) is governed by the same standards as
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim: the pleadings must plausibly suggest that the
plaintiff has a right to relief above a speculative level.
Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 727-28
(7th Cir. 2014) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). In ruling on a motion for judgment on
the pleadings, the Court considers the complaint, answer, and
any written instruments attached to those pleadings; accepts
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true; and
draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See
Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633
(7th Cir. 2007); Forseth v. Village of Sussex, 199
F.3d 363, 368 (7th Cir. 2000).
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Fair Credit Reporting Act commands that once per year, if a
consumer requests a free copy of their credit report, all
consumer reporting agencies-such as TransUnion-must provide
the free copy to the consumer. 15 U.S.C. §
1681j(a)(1)(A). The consumer must, however, request the copy
from the “central source established for such
purpose”. 15 U.S.C. § 1681j(a)(1)(B). The upshot
of the statute's design is that consumers can obtain
their free credit reports from all of the agencies
by making only a single request through the central source,
rather than having to contact each agency individually. 12
C.F.R. § 1022.136(a). If a consumer reporting agency
fails to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the
statute allows plaintiffs to recover damages from the agency
on theories of both willful noncompliance and negligent
noncompliance. 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a)(1)(A); 15 U.S.C.
TransUnion has not violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
This is because Brown did not request his credit report from
the central source, as § 1681j(a)(1)(B) requires.
Rather, Brown sent his requests directly to TransUnion.
(Compl. Ex.'s A-C, Doc. 1-3.) Accordingly,
TransUnion's refusal to disclose Brown's credit
report was the proper application of the statute. Brown's
complaint thus fails to plead any violation of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act-whether his theory is one of willful
noncompliance, negligent compliance, or otherwise. Moreover,
it would be futile for the Court to allow Brown to amend his
complaint because he has already demonstrated through his
attached exhibits that he is not entitled to relief.
case mirrors a case in the Northern District of Illinois,
where the Court summed up the issue by stating: “while
[the consumer credit agency] might have made greater effort
to accommodate Plaintiff's special circumstances [as a
prisoner], the facts do not reflect a violation of any
provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”
Garland v. Equifax, et al., No.
3:15-cv-50305, ECF No. 104 at 3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2017). If
prisoners wish to obtain free copies of their credit reports
pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, they are-at this
time, at least-bound by the terms of the statute.
foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS
TransUnion's motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc.
10.) The Court DISMISSES this case with
prejudice and DIRECT ...