United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
BELINDA A. SAUNDERS,
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SYSTEMS
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
W. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are Defendant Equifax Information System's
LLC's Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 38);
Saunders' Response (Dkt. No. 43); and Equifax's Reply
(Dkt. No. 44). The District Court referred the above motions
to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for a report and
recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule
1(c) of Appendix C of the Local Rules.
sues Equifax for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Saunders alleges that Equifax listed on her credit report two
accounts on which she is only an “authorized user,
” and included in the report negative history on those
two accounts. Saunders alleges this negatively impacted her
credit rating. Saunders disputed the information related to
the accounts in a letter to Equifax dated January 28, 2016.
The letter informed Equifax that Saunders was not a signer,
obligor or accommodation party to the original contracts but
merely an authorized user of the accounts, and demanded that
the accounts be removed from her credit history. Equifax
responded that the accounts were being accurately reported
and that it would continue to report the authorized user
accounts with the negative history.
argues that since she is not contractually or financially
responsible or obligated for paying the accounts, the
information on her credit report is both false and
misleading. She asserts Equifax violated its duty under 15
U.S.C. §1681i(a)(1)(a) to conduct a good faith and
reasonable investigation into this dispute. Additionally,
Saunders complains that Equifax did not send any
notifications of the dispute to either Chase or Capital One,
in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a)(2)(A). Saunders also
asserts that Equifax is also currently violating 15 U.S.C.
§1681e(b), by not following reasonable procedures to
assure maximum possible accuracy, because it is allowing a
data furnisher (Chase and Capital One) to report negative
information on Saunders' credit report.
motion, Equifax asserts that Saunders' pleadings fail to
allege that Equifax's reporting of the two accounts was
inaccurate because she admits that she was an authorized user
on the accounts and does not contend that either the balance
or status information on those accounts was inaccurate.
Saunders responds that reporting information about authorized
user accounts is misleading when it includes
“negative” payment history information, as it
both has an adverse impact on her credit score, and because
it could lead to the denial of credit based on a
misunderstanding that she was in some way responsible for the
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to move to
dismiss an action for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P.12(b)(6). In deciding a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
“[t]he court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true,
viewing them in the light most favorable to the
[nonmovant].” In re Katrina Canal Breaches
Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted), cert. denied, 552 U.S.
1182 (2008). The Supreme Court has explained that a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter “to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
[nonmovant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [movant] is liable for
the misconduct alleged.” Id. The court
generally is not to look beyond the pleadings in deciding a
motion to dismiss. Spivey v. Robertson, 197 F.3d
772, 774 (5th Cir. 1999).
FCRA “defines a complex set of rights and obligations
that attend the relationships among and between the provider
of a credit report, the user of that information and the
consumer who is made the subject of such a report.”
Sepulvado v. CSC Credit Servs., Inc., 158 F.3d 890,
895 (5th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 526 U.S. 1044
(1999). Among the obligations that the FCRA imposes is the
requirement that “[w]henever a consumer reporting
agency prepares a consumer report it shall follow reasonable
procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the
information concerning the individual about whom the report
relates.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b).
In addition, if the completeness or accuracy of any item of
information contained in a consumer's file at a consumer
reporting agency is disputed by the consumer . . . the agency
shall, free of charge, conduct a reasonable reinvestigation
to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate
and record the current status of the disputed information, or
delete the item from the file.
15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a). Importantly, to state a claim for
relief under the act, the consumer must “establish that
a credit report contained an actual inaccuracy [otherwise]
the plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law.”
Doster v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., 2017 WL
264401, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2017) (internal punctuation
and citation omitted); see also Washington v. CSC Credit
Services Inc., 199 F.3d 263, 267 n. 3 (5th Cir. 2000)
(“In order to pursue a cause of action based ...