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West v. JP Morgan Chase

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

November 22, 2017

KENDRIA Y. WEST, Plaintiff,
v.
JP MORGAN CHASE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          ALETA A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Kendria West has filed a pro se Complaint (Doc. No. 1) against JP Morgan Chase (“Chase”), asserting claims under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § § 1681-1681x. With her Complaint, she submitted an Application to Proceed in District Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Doc. No. 2). As it is clear from the plaintiff's submission that she lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the fee required for the filing of a complaint, the Application (Doc. No. 2) is GRANTED, and the Clerk is DIRECTED to file the Complaint in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court is required to conduct an initial review of the Complaint and dismiss it if it is facially frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

         In reviewing the complaint to determine whether it states a plausible claim, “a district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009)). A pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         In the present Complaint, the plaintiff claims that Chase repeatedly ran a “hard” credit check on her through the credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”) Equifax and Experian, even though she had never applied for a credit card through Chase. As a result, the plaintiff's credit score has been “artificially lower[ed], ” making it impossible for her to apply for credit from sources with which she would like to do business. (Compl. ¶ 1.) More specifically, she claims that Chase “ran her credit” by requesting a copy of her credit report from the CRAs nine times between October 14, 2016 and October 31, 2017, even though she had not applied for credit. (Compl. ¶ 4 & Ex. A.) The first time it happened, she filed a police report and notified Chase, Equifax, and Experian by letter. (Comp. ¶ 4.) The plaintiff's letters are not in the record, but she attached a response from the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, which notified her of steps she could take to protect her identity. (Compl. Ex. B.) She also attached a letter from Chase explaining that a request for credit submitted in her name was declined because Chase believed a third person might be attempting to obtain credit in the plaintiff's name. Chase likewise recommended that the plaintiff take steps to protect her personal information:

We declined an application for a credit card because we couldn't confirm information on it. We're concerned someone may be using your personal information fraudulently.
If you submitted this application, please call us . . . . This application will remain closed if we don't hear from you within 30 days from the date of this letter.
There are steps you can take to protect your identify if you think your personal information has been compromised. . . .

(See, e.g., Doc. No. 1, at 17.) The letter goes on to explain steps the recipient could take to protect her identity. (Id.)

         A letter from Experian attached to the Complaint simply indicates that Experian, at the plaintiff's request, deleted from her credit report the requests for credit history made by Chase Card on May 21, 2017, June 21, 2017, and July 1, 2017. (Compl. Ex. D.) The plaintiff describes Exhibit E as showing that Equifax has

repeatedly refused to remove [the fraudulent credit report requests] and insisted that the information was correct when it was in FACT NOT ACCURATE as I did NOT apply! There appears to be some collusion between Chase and Equifax. The motive being to create “fear” which would cause me to purchase credit protection items and to pay for credit freezes from Equifax.

(Compl. ¶ 4.)[1]

         The plaintiff states:

In addition, I've had an Amazon account at my address since 2002 and I've NEVER applied for a card through Amazon. I notified the CFPB about this and in 10/17 Chase AGAIN ran my credit but simply left off “Amazon” as the place where I'd applied. . . . I have been harmed by this malice because it artificially lowered my credit score which has left me unable to apply to legitimate companies for personal and professional credit. Additionally, ...

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