United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CHRISTINE R. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
TD BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION and EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.
Charles P. Kocoras United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant Equifax Information Services,
LLC's (“Equifax”) motion to dismiss Plaintiff
Christine R. Johnson's (“Johnson”) first
amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Also at issue is Defendant TD Bank USA, N.A.'s
(“TD Bank”) (collectively, “the
Defendants”) motion for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). For the
following reasons, the Court denies Equ`ifax's motion to
dismiss. The Court grants in part and denies in part TD
Bank's motion for judgment on the pleadings.
purposes of this motion, the Court accepts as true the
following facts from the amended complaint. Murphy v.
Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). All reasonable
inferences are drawn in Johnson's favor. Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
is an Illinois resident and a “consumer” as
defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681a(b) and
(c). TD Bank is a Delaware company that provides personal,
retail, small business, and commercial banking products and
services. Equifax is a Georgia company that collects and
reports consumer information to financial institutions.
2017, Johnson learned that she was a victim of identity theft
when an unknown offender gained access to her personal
information and obtained a Target REDcard using that
information. On March 27, 2017, Johnson informed Target card
services that this card was issued based on fraudulent
activity, after which time she stopped receiving Target
REDcard billing statements. On November 6, 2018, Johnson
discovered TD Bank USA/Target Credit's tradeline on her
credit report. On December 15, 2018, she filed a police
report with the Tinley Park Police Department concerning her
allegations of identity theft.
December 18, 2018, Johnson mailed a credit dispute letter to
Equifax requesting that they delete or remove the TD Bank
USA/Target Credit tradeline from her credit report. She
informed Equifax that her identity had been stolen and
provided them a copy of the police report. Equifax promptly
contacted TD Bank regarding the dispute; however, TD Bank
verified that the Target REDcard account belonged to Johnson.
Consequently, on January 2, 2019, Equifax mailed Johnson
dispute results indicating that the Target REDcard account
belonged to her and was included in her Chapter 7 bankruptcy
on these events, Johnson filed her first amended complaint on
April 30, 2019, alleging various violations of the FCRA
against Equifax and TD Bank. Equifax filed a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
on May 14, 2019. One week later, TD Bank filed a motion for
judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) “tests the sufficiency of the complaint, not
the merits of the case.” McReynolds v. Merrill
Lynch & Co., 694 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). The
allegations in the complaint must set forth a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Johnson need
not provide detailed factual allegations, but she must
provide enough factual support to raise her right to relief
above a speculative level. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A claim must be
facially plausible, meaning that the pleadings must
“allow…the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). The claim must be described “in sufficient
detail to give the defendant ‘fair notice of what
the…claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs.,
Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, ” are insufficient to
withstand a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678.
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is governed by the same
standards as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Rule 12(b)(6).” Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2014).
However, in evaluating a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, the Court may consider “the complaint, the
answer, and any written instruments attached as
exhibits.” N. Indiana Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc.
v. City of South Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir.
Defendants urge the Court to dismiss the first amended
complaint on judicial estoppel grounds. TD Bank additionally
asks the Court to partially dismiss the FCRA claim against it
under 15 U.S.C. § 1681a-2(a), as this section does not
provide a private right of action as a remedy. The Court
addresses each argument in turn.
Defendants argue that Johnson cannot state a claim under the
FCRA because the statute requires the disputed information to
be inaccurate, and by Johnson's own admission, the Target
REDcard belonged to her. Keuhling v. Trans Union,
LLC, 137 Fed.Appx. 904, 908 (7th Cir. 2005). They assert
that in Johnson's bankruptcy filings, she indicated that
she incurred the debt, and she did not list the debt as
“Disputed.” The Defendants maintain that Johnson
should now be estopped from claiming that the debt resulted
from identity theft.
doctrine of judicial estoppel prevents litigants from
manipulating the judicial system by prevailing in different
cases or phases of a case by adopting inconsistent
positions.” Spaine v. Cmty. Contacts, Inc.,
756 F.3d 542, 547 (7th Cir. 2014). To successfully estop a
party from asserting a position in a subsequent proceeding,
“the later position must be clearly inconsistent with
the earlier position.” ...