Lack of Jurisdiction Leads EDPA Judge to Grant MTD in FCRA, FDCPA Case

In what feels like a “three people who have never been in my kitchen” claim, a District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a motion to dismiss filed by two debt collection companies that were sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, on the grounds that there was no reason for the case to be filed in that jurisdiction in the first place.

A copy of the ruling in the case of White v. TransUnion et al. can be accessed by clicking here.

Background: The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendants — Portfolio Recovery Associates and LVNV Funding — violated the FDCPA and FCRA by furnishing information to the credit reporting agencies on accounts that were opened in the plaintiff’s name without her authorization. The plaintiff alleged the defendants did not conduct reasonable investigations before reporting negative information to the credit reporting agencies.

The Ruling: There is no legal justification for why the case was filed in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, noted Judge Joshua D. Wolson. The plaintiff lives in New Jersey, Portfolio Recovery Associates is based in Virginia, and LVNV is based in South Carolina. The plaintiff argued that Pennsylvania “is at home” in the state because they have both been sued there on previous occasions, but as Judge Wolson pointed out, “being hauled into court does not render a company at home in a jurisdiction.”

  • The plaintiff also claimed the Pennsylvania worked because the two companies had “regular” contact with TransUnion, but TransUnion’s only connection to the state is that it has an office there.
  • The plaintiff also attempted to argue that the two companies could be sued in Pennsylvania because they collect debts from residents in the state, but they did not attempt to collect anything from the plaintiff in Pennsylvania, Judge Wolson noted. Nor were the disputes filed by the plaintiff investigated in that state.

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