United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. CLIFTON KNOWLES, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court upon Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Docket No. 27. In support of its Motion, Defendant has contemporaneously filed a supporting Memorandum of Law with Exhibits (Docket Nos. 28 - 28-3), a "Statement of Material Facts Not In Dispute" (Docket No. 29), and the Declaration with Exhibits of Michael Kelleher (Docket No. 29-1, Exs. A, B).
Plaintiff has not responded to the instant Motion or to the Statement of Material Facts not in Dispute, nor has he filed his own statement of undisputed facts.
Plaintiff filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action alleging that Defendant violated his rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681p, et al. Docket No. 1. Specifically, Plaintiff avers that, "on or about March 18, 2014, [he] obtained his three consumer credit reports from the three (3) major credit reporting bureaus Equifax, Transunion and Experian" and "noticed and found an inquiry by defendant UNITED RECOVERY SYSTEMS to obtain Plaintiff's consumer credit report on October 14, 2013." Id. at 2 (capitalization original). Plaintiff argues that Defendant is a "credit furnisher" within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(c) with whom he has never had any business dealings, applied for any credit or services, applied for employment, or "executed any contracts resulting in an account in favor of the defendant." Id. Plaintiff contends that Defendant obtained Plaintiff's consumer credit report with no "permissible purpose" on October 14, 2013, in what "appears to be a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681(b)." Id. at 3. Plaintiff avers that he notified Defendant of his dispute by mail, "in an attempt to mitigate his damages and obtain settlement prior to bringing this action, " but received no reply "after servicing notice upon them." Id.
17. At no time did Plaintiff give the defendant permission to obtain his consumer credit report from any credit reporting agency. The actions of the defendant in obtaining Plaintiff's consumer credit report with no permissible purpose or Plaintiffs [ sic ] consent was a willful violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681(b), and an egregious violation of Plaintiff's right to privacy. Defendant's violation may also be a criminal violation pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681q.
18. Defendant had a duty to properly ascertain if there was in fact any legitimate permissible purpose for obtaining Plaintiff's consumer credit report. Defendant however breached said duty by failing to do so. There was no account that Defendant had a right to collect, resulting in defendant obtaining Plaintiff's consumer credit report. Therefore Plaintiff may be entitled to damages by operation of law.
Plaintiff seeks "statutory damages of $1, 000.00, any punitive damages that the court sees fit, all costs, and attorney's fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681n." Id.
Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that there is no dispute as to the material facts or the applicable law and that it is entitled to summary judgment because there was no FCRA violation since it had a permissible purpose for requesting a copy of Plaintiff's credit report; namely, that it was "in furtherance of its efforts to collect a debt owed by Plaintiff to a third-party that hired [Defendant] to collect the debt." Docket No. 28 at 1, referencing 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A).
For the reasons to be discussed below, the undersigned recommends that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be GRANTED, and that this action be DISMISSED.
II. Undisputed Facts
At all times relevant to the case at bar, Defendant has been authorized to collect debts in the State of Tennessee. Docket No. 29-1, Declaration of Michael Kelleher ("Kelleher Dec."), ¶ 1. On October 11, 2013, T-Mobile USA, Inc. ("Client") placed Plaintiff's account ending in 4425 ("Account") with Defendant for collection. Id., ¶¶ 2, 3. At the time of the placement, the Client represented to Defendant that the Account was in default and that a balance of $335.51 was valid, due, and owing by Plaintiff. Id., ¶ 3. The Client sent information confirming the debt to Defendant, and Defendant incorporated that information into its file on Plaintiff. Id.
The Client informed Defendant of Plaintiff's social security number and residential address. Id., ¶ 4. Using that information, Defendant requested a partial copy of Plaintiff's credit report from TransUnion on October 14, 2013, with the intent that it would assist Defendant with its collection efforts. Id., ¶ 5. Defendant requested Plaintiff's credit report solely to assist in its collection of the debt and not for any other purpose, and so certified to TransUnion. Id. That same day, October 14, 2013, Defendant received electronically from ...