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. 21.)
The plaintiff did not respond to the motion. In short,
TransUnion asks the Court to grant judgment in their favor
because the plaintiff has not-and cannot-allege a violation
of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. For the following reasons,
the Court GRANTS TransUnion's motion.
Jefferey Huddleston is an inmate at Big Muddy River
Correctional Center. (Compl. ¶ 3, Doc. 1.) He alleges
that he sent three letters directly to TransUnion in which he
requested a free copy of his credit report pursuant to the
Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et
seq. (Id. at ¶ 8; see also Doc.
1-1, pp. 7-12.) The plaintiff argues that since TransUnion
refused to send him a free copy in response, he is entitled
to actual, statutory, and punitive damages. (Id. at
¶ 20.) 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).
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 the plaintiff did not request his credit
report from the central source, as § 1681j(a)(1)(B)
requires. Rather, the plaintiff sent his requests directly to
TransUnion. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 7-12.) Accordingly,
TransUnion's refusal to disclose the plaintiff's
credit report was the proper application of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act and the complaint fails to plead any violation
of the statute- regardless of whether the plaintiff's
theory is one of willful noncompliance, negligent compliance,
or otherwise. Moreover, it would be futile for the Court to
allow the plaintiff 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.
21.) The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to
enter judgment in ...