To dispute or not to dispute? That may be the question for Plaintiffs’ counsel, but courts nationwide continue to say ‘tis nobler to show true inaccuracy.

Author: Avanti Bakane, Neha Dagley, and Melissa Manning

Eastern District of Michigan court dismisses Credit Repair Lawyers of America’s non-dispute claims under the FCRA.

While Plaintiff freely admitted that in the past she disputed her accounts with the credit reporting agencies, she subsequently had a change of heart. As a result, Plaintiff took umbrage with the ‘account in dispute’ notation appearing on her credit reports. Instead of communicating her current lack of dispute directly to the furnishers, Plaintiff alleged she provided notice only to the CRAs. Importantly, any supporting documentation was wholly missing from Plaintiff’s amended complaint. When the notation was not removed, Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendants furnishers and credit reporting agencies violated the FCRA with their inaccurate reporting.

In a succinct opinion, without holding any oral argument, District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds disposed of Plaintiff’s claims against multiple furnisher defendants, granting their motions to dismiss.

First, the Court found that Plaintiff’s failure to allege that she sent her non-dispute letter directly to furnisher PRA was fatal to her claims.

Further, the court found that Plaintiff’s bare bones and boilerplate recitation that her prior dispute notations were no longer accurate failed to meet the standard of pleading an FCRA claim, i.e. to claim a reasonable investigation was not performed, in the first instance, Plaintiff must establish a true inaccuracy:

Plaintiff simply makes the conclusory allegation that these “dispute” notations are inaccurate, without further identifying how so. “It is well settled that, regardless of the particular breach of the FCRA that is alleged, ‘a threshold showing of inaccuracy or incompleteness is necessary in order to succeed on a claim under § 1681s-2(b).’” Tillman v. Michigan First Credit Union, 2021 WL 1267583 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 5, 2021) (discussed on summary judgment)(citing Pittman v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 901 F.3d 619, 629 (6th Cir. 2018)).

In denying leave to amend as futile, the Court found that Plaintiff’s amended complaint suffered the same deficiencies as her original. Also, Plaintiff has had the benefit of the “growing body of case law that address the deficiencies of her claims.”

The ruling comes as a welcome victory for Gordon & Rees and the industry as this theory spreads, albeit now under the FDCPA.

Chandra Young v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, et al. (E.D. Mich. 21-10095 March 29, 2022).

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