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Donnie Green v. First Premier Bank

November 21, 2011

DONNIE GREEN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FIRST PREMIER BANK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Karen E. Schreier Chief Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

Plaintiff, Donnie Green, filed a pro se complaint against defendant, First Premier Bank (First Premier), alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and a series of state common law claims. First Premier moves to dismiss Green's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Green has not responded to the motion to dismiss and the time for response has passed.

FACTS

Green alleges that in March 2011 he experienced emotional distress in connection with a charge-off listed by First Premier on his credit report. Green states that he disputed the information listed by First Premier by filing an online form via Experian, a consumer reporting agency. Experian subsequently contacted First Premier. First Premier then reported to Experian that it had verified the disputed information on Green's credit report.

Based on these facts, Green asserts that First Premier furnished inaccurate information about a debt and failed to comply with the FCRA. Green also asserts that he "suffered loss of self-esteem and peace of mind" and "emotional distress, humiliation and embarrassment, and defamation of Credit." In addition to his FCRA claims, Green asserts state-law claims for negligent, reckless, and wanton conduct, harassment, invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional misrepresentation.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The court must assume as true all facts well pleaded in the complaint. Estate of Rosenberg by Rosenberg v. Crandell, 56 F.3d 35, 37 (8th Cir. 1995). Also, "although liberally construed, a pro se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions." Allen v. Purkett, 5 F.3d 1151, 1153 (8th Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). A plaintiff's complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations . . . [but] requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). If it does not contain these bare essentials, dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate. Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985). Twombly requires that a complaint's factual allegations must be "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true." Id. at 1965; Abdullah v. Minnesota, No. 06-4142, 2008 WL 283693 (8th Cir. Feb. 4, 2008) (citing Twombly and noting complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations regarding all material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory). But broad and conclusory statements unsupported by factual allegations are not sufficient. Ellingburg v. King, 490 F.2d 1270 (8th Cir. 1974). Finally, although pro se complaints are to be construed liberally, "they must still allege facts sufficient to support the claims advanced." Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004). The court is not required to supply additional facts for a pro se plaintiff, nor construct a legal theory that assumes facts which have not been pleaded. Id.

DISCUSSION

The FCRA was enacted "to ensure fair and accurate credit reporting, promote efficiency in the banking system, and protect consumer privacy." Safeco Ins. Co. of Am. v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47 (2007). In enacting the FCRA, Congress sought to make "consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities [in assembling and evaluating consumers' credit and disseminating information about consumers' credit] with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer's right to privacy." 15 U.S.C. § 1681(a)(4). Consequently, the FCRA has "several mechanisms to protect consumer credit information, some of which apply to consumer reporting agencies while others apply to users of the information provided by those agencies." Poehl v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 528 F.3d 1093, 1096 (8th Cir. 2008). The act also imposes duties on the sources that provide credit information to consumer reporting agencies, called "furnishers" in the statute; these duties are set forth at § 1681s-2. "The most common . . . furnishers of information are credit card issuers, auto dealers, department and grocery stores, lenders, utilities, insurers, collection agencies, and government agencies. See H.R. Rep. No. 108-263, at 24 (2003). This action concerns the duties of First Premier Bank as a furnisher of credit information.

I. Green's FCRA claims fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

A. There is no private right of action under 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a).

Green alleges that First Premier violated its duty to provide accurate information to credit reporting agencies. While Green does not provide a specific statutory reference to support his allegation, First Premier argues that to the extent Green's claim is based on an alleged violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a), it should be dismissed because there is no private right of action against a furnisher of information under that particular section of the FCRA.

Section 1681s-2(a) provides that "[a] person shall not furnish any information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency if the person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the information is inaccurate." 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a)(1). The FCRA also imposes a duty to notify consumer reporting agencies that the debt is disputed by a consumer. Section 1681s-2(a)(3) provides that "[i]f the completeness or accuracy of any information furnished by any person to any consumer reporting agency is disputed to such person by a consumer, the person may not furnish the information to any consumer reporting agency without notice that such information is disputed by the consumer." But the FCRA expressly provides that a violation of these sections "shall be enforced exclusively . . . by the Federal agencies and officials and the State officials identified in Section 1681s of this title." 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(d). Thus, Green does not have a private right of action to bring claims based on First Premier's duty to furnish accurate information to Experian and the other consumer reporting agencies. See, e.g., Thulin v. EMC Mortgage Corp., No. 06-3514, 2007 WL 3037353 at * 6 (D. Minn. Oct. 16, 2007) (finding that "there is no private right of action against one who furnishes inaccurate information to a credit bureau in violation of Section 1681s-2(a)") (citing Yutesler v. Sears Roebuck & Co., ...


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