Judge Denies MTD in FCRA Case on Failure to State a Claim

A District Court judge in Florida has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, ruling that the plaintiff met the threshold for stating a claim by saying that the furnisher failed to conduct a reasonable investigation after it was notified by a credit reporting agency that a dispute had been filed.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Harris v. Equifax Information Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff obtained a copy of her credit report, which indicated one of the items was “in dispute.” She sent a letter to two of the credit reporting agencies asking to have the notation removed from her report. The CRA’s notified the furnisher, according to the plaintiff, which then verified that the notation was accurate. The plaintiff obtained another copy of her credit report, saw the notation again, and sued the CRA’s and the furnisher for violating Section 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA for not properly investigating the dispute.

The furnisher argued that the defendant failed to state a claim and that the allegations regarding damages and causation were legally insufficient.

But, in order to survive a motion to dismiss, all a plaintiff has to do is explicitly alleged that the defendants “failed to conduct a proper investigation” and “failed to review all relevant information available to it and provided by Equifax and Trans Union.” According to Judge Tom Barber of the District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, “Nothing more is required to survive a motion to dismiss.”

Judge Barber then noted whether the plaintiff can prove that damages were caused by the furnisher “is a question for another day more properly brought as a motion for summary judgment.”

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