In two nearly identical cases, pro se consumers brought suit pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a)(1), alleging that Experian Information Systems (“EIS”)and/or Transunion were credit reporting agencies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and that both had, despite specific requests, only provided copies of their credit report and not their entire credit file, based on a belief that information regarding credit reporting hacks and identify disclosures were contain in the more complete file. In both cases the defendants brought Motions to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
In Hinkle, the magistrate found that the complaint adequately alleged facts that would show that EIS was a credit reporting agency, as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., due to its transfer of information, its shared logo and domination in managerial decisions with and by Experian.
In Danehy, the district court found that the initial complaint failed to allege that the credit report provided to the Plaintiff did not contain all of the information “that might be furnished, or has been furnished” to third parties. Hinkle had, however, included allegations that she had reviewed her consumer file with Lexis Nexis that included information derived from EIS, but which EIS had not included in the credit report it provided. This was sufficient to survive the Motion to Dismiss, with the magistrate calling particular attention to failure of EIS to distinguish that the descsions it relied on were all in regards to Motions for Summary Judgment granted after discovery.
Almost as if in response to Hinkle, Danehy sought to amend his complaint to include allegations that his Lexis Nexis credit file also included information derived from the defendants but not provided to him.
The pro se Plaintiffs in both of these cases are squaring off against the same host of lawyers for the credit bureaus, gathered from across the country. While they are doing valiantly thus far, even young David had an Israelite army at his back when he faced off against Goliath and the Canaanites. Perhaps the National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA) and its members could step forward to help here.
For a copy of the opinion, please see: