Judge Grants MTD in FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA Case

A District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for allegedly placing more than 200 calls to try and collect on a debt and falsely reporting incorrect information to the credit reporting agencies.

Backstory: The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, claims that the collection efforts by the defendant caused her to lose her hair and be denied for two loans, which Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York deemed sufficient for her to have standing to sue.

The FCRA Claim: While a furnisher has a duty to provide accurate information to credit reporting agencies under Section 1682s-2(a) of the FCRA, there is no private right of action to enforce alleged violations of that provision, Judge Matsumoto noted. There is a private right of action under Section 1682s-2(b) of the FCRA, but in order for the plaintiff to state a claim, the plaintiff needed to have filed a dispute, which she allegedly never did.

The TCPA Claim: Accusing the defendant of violating the TCPA, without alleging that the defendant used an automated telephone dialing system was also problematic for the plaintiff. The plaintiff needed to more than allege that the defendant made more than 200 calls, such as by claiming that it used an artificial or pre-recorded voice when it made those calls. The plaintiff failed to even claim that any of the 200 calls may have been made using an ATDS or pre-recorded voice, Judge Matsumoto ruled.

The FDCPA Claim: Again, the plaintiff’s complaint contained a deficiency that Judge Matsumoto could not overlook. The plaintiff failed to do more than “parrot” the statutory definition of “debt” in claiming that the underlying debt was for personal, family, or household purposes.

The Last Word: “Because Plaintiff has failed to plausibly allege that the obligation at issue falls within the scope of the FDCPA’s protection, the Court need not, and does not, consider whether Defendant ‘engaged in an act or omission in violation of the FDCPA’s requirements,’ ” Judge Matsumoto wrote.

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