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Marlyn Phillips v. Transunion

April 25, 2012

MARLYN PHILLIPS
v.
TRANSUNION, LLC, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Surrick, J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Transunion, LLC's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings Pursuant to Rule 12(c). (ECF No. 14.) For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

A. Nature of Action and the Parties

This is an action brought by a consumer for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq. ("FCRA"). (Compl. ¶ 1, Not. of Removal Ex. B, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff is an individual who resides in Warminster, Pennsylvania. (Id. at ¶ 2.) Defendant is a credit bureau that has a place of business in Chicago, Illinois. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

B. Plaintiff's Prior Action Against Defendant

On May 9, 2010, Plaintiff wrote Defendant a letter, in which she disputed "derogatory information on [her] credit report" with respect to an account ending in "1602" ("1602 Account"). (2011 Pa. Compl. ¶ 13 & Ex., Def.'s Answer Ex. E, ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff asserted that the stated amount that was allegedly owed to a company called "Cavalry Portfolio Services/Bank of America" was "excessive and inflated." (Id.) On May 18, 2010, Defendant sent Plaintiff a document, stating that its investigation of the dispute was "now complete" and listing the results of the investigation. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15 & Ex.)*fn2 On July 26, 2010, Plaintiff wrote Defendant a letter, in which she requested the method of verification that was used to verify the 1602 Account. (2011 Pa. Compl. ¶ 16 & Ex.) On August 24, 2010, Defendant stated, in writing, that its investigation of the dispute was "now complete" and listed the results of the investigation. (Id. at ¶ 17 & Ex.)*fn3 On January 13, 2011, Plaintiff requested the method of verification that was used by Defendant to verify the 1602 Account. (2011 Pa. Compl. ¶ 19 & Ex.) On January 20, 2011, Defendant responded to Plaintiff's request by reciting its "General Policy" for investigating disputed information. (Def.'s Counterclaim ¶ 1 & Ex. A, ECF No. 4.)*fn4

On February 1, 2011, Plaintiff wrote Defendant a letter, in which she noted that while Defendant had provided her with "a generalized description of [] how Transunion usually conducts in[sic] investigation," she sought "a description of the specific means used by [the] company to verify the alleged balance for th[e] bill." (2011 Pa. Compl. ¶ 19 & Ex.; Def.'s Counterclaim Ex. B.) On February 5, 2011, Defendant sent Plaintiff a document containing the Form Language and, under "investigation results," listing the 1602 Account as having "new information." (2011 Pa. Compl. Ex.) On February 14, 2011, Defendant wrote Plaintiff a letter, in which it asserted that it had previously verified the 1602 Account as accurate. (Id. at ¶ 20 & Ex.) Defendant asserted that "under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we consider this dispute frivolous and we will not reinvestigate the item(s) unless you can provide court papers or a recent, authentic letter from the creditor(s) that explains what information should be updated." (Id.) On February 24, 2011, Plaintiff requested again that Defendant provide the specific method of verification that was used in its reinvestigation of the 1602 Account. (Id. at ¶ 19 & Ex.; Def.'s Counterclaim Ex. C.) On March 5, 2011, Defendant sent Plaintiff a document containing the Form Language and listing the 1602 Account as "previously verified." (Id. at ¶¶ 17, 20 & Ex.) On April 27, 2011, Plaintiff requested again that Defendant provide the specific method of verification that was used in its reinvestigation of the 1602 Account. (Def.'s Answer ¶ 4 & Ex. D.) On May 6, 2011, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant in the Court of Common Pleas in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. (2011 Pa. Compl.) The complaint was removed to this Court on May 25, 2011 ("Prior Action"). Phillips v. Transunion, LLC, No. 11-3376 (filed May 25, 2011), ECF No. 1. Plaintiff asserted that Defendant breached its duty under the FCRA "to inform Plaintiff as to what Defendant['s] method of verification was when Defendant conducted such reinvestigation(s)." (2011 Pa. Compl. ¶ 21.) On May 27, 2011, Defendant filed an answer in the Prior Action. Phillips v. Transunion, LLC, No. 11-3376 (filed May 25, 2011), ECF No. 3.

On July 5, 2011, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement "to resolve all disputes, asserted or unasserted, arising out of, or in any way related to any acts, failures to act, omissions, facts, events, misrepresentations, transactions, occurrence, or other matters set forth, alleged, embraced by, or otherwise referred to at any time in the Lawsuit." (Settlement Agreement ¶ B, Def.'s Answer Ex. F.)*fn5 The relevant terms of the Settlement Agreement*fn6 are as follows:

* The Parties agree to jointly cause to be filed agreed orders and/or stipulations of dismissal of the Lawsuit, with prejudice, as settled with each party bearing its own costs and attorneys' fees, all of the claims advanced by Plaintiff against Trans Union. (Settlement Agreement ¶ 3.)

* Except for the rights and obligations created by this Agreement, Plaintiff . . . hereby releases and forever discharges Trans Union . . . from any and all claims, demands, damages, actions, causes of action or suits of any kind or nature, known or unknown, which Plaintiff had, now has, or may have, on account of, arising out of, based upon or in any manner connected with, any matter, cause or thing whatsoever at any time up to and including the date of execution of this Agreement, including, but not limited to, any claim for attorneys' fees or costs or any claim based directly or indirectly upon facts, events, transactions or occurrences related, alleged, embraced by or otherwise referred to at any time in the Lawsuit or which could have been asserted in the Lawsuit or which relate in any manner to Plaintiff's credit history information as reported by Trans Union, including but not limited to that information contained in Plaintiff's Trans Union consumer disclosure, dated June 20, 2011, attached hereto as Exhibit A, or the furnishing of such information by Trans Union to any third parties, prior to the execution of this Agreement. (Id. at ¶ 4.)

On June 27, 2011, pursuant to Local Rule 41.1(b), we entered an Order dismissing the Prior Action with prejudice. Phillips v. Transunion, LLC, No. 11-3376 (filed May 25, 2011), ECF No. 10. The case was terminated.

C. Procedural History of This Action

On December 26, 2011, Plaintiff wrote Defendant two separate letters, one with respect to an account ending in "7913" that had a high balance of $11,203 ("7913 Account") and one with respect to an account ending in "9418" that had a high balance of $2,427 ("9418 Account"). (Compl. ΒΆΒΆ 12, 15, 18 & Exs. A & B.) Plaintiff asserted that Defendant "placed derogatory information about the . . . account on [her] credit report." (Id. at Exs. A & B.) In both letters, Plaintiff stated that she had "disputed this account in the past," and that Defendant "had conducted at least two separate re-investigations where the information has been verified and re- verified." (Id.) Plaintiff ...


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