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.) In
short, TransUnion asks the Court to grant judgment in their
favor because plaintiff Wade Frazier has not-and
cannot-allege a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
Wade Frazier is an inmate at Centralia Correctional Center.
(Compl. ¶ 2, Doc. 1-3.) 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. (Id. at ¶ 4-6.) Frazier 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.) Frazier 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.
has not violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is
because Frazier did not request his credit report from the
central source, as § 1681j(a)(1)(B) requires. Rather,
Frazier sent his requests directly to TransUnion. (Compl.
Ex.'s A-C, Doc. 1-3.) Frazier combats this by citing to
two more provisions in the statute-§§ 1681j(c)(3)
& (f)-but neither provision changes the analysis here.
§ 1681j(c)(3) allows a consumer to obtain a free credit
report if they certify in writing that they have
“reason to believe that the file on the consumer at the
agency contains inaccurate information due to fraud, ”
but Frazier did not do that here. None of his letters state
that he had reason to believe that the reports contained
inaccurate information due to fraud-even though §
1681j(c)(3) commands that the consumer explain as
such. (See Compl. Ex.'s B-C, Doc.
1-3.) Rather, Frazier's requests are routine ones for
copies of his “free annual credit report”
pursuant to § 1681j(a)(1)(A), which requires the use of
the centralized source. Moreover, Frazier's other cited
provision-§ 1681j(f)-does not center on free credit
reports and thus is not at issue here.
TransUnion's refusal to disclose Frazier's credit
report was the proper application of the statute.
Frazier's complaint fails to plead any violation of the
Fair Credit Reporting Act-whether his theory is one of
willful noncompliance, negligent compliance, or otherwise.
And it would be futile for the Court to allow Frazier to
amend his complaint because he has already demonstrated
through his attached exhibits that he is not entitled to
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 ...