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Jackson v. Equifax Information Services, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 28, 2014

JOSEPH M. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC and JOHN DOE, MANAGER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Blewitt's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 7) to the Complaint filed by Plaintiff Joseph M. Jackson ("Jackson"). Magistrate Judge Blewitt recommends that the action be transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, or, in the alternative, that Jackson's Complaint be dismissed without prejudice. Jackson filed timely objections to the Report and Recommendation. Because the balance of public and private interest factors weigh in favor of transfer, the recommendation to transfer the action will be adopted, and the action will be transferred to the Northern District of Georgia.

I. Background

Jackson, an inmate incarcerated at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite, Oklahoma, commenced this action pro se against Equifax Information Services, LLC ("Equifax") and manager John Doe (collecitvely, "Defendants") on January 7, 2014 for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq . (Doc. 1.) Specifically, Jackson alleges that he requested from Equifax a copy of his free credit report. Thereafter, on January 14, 2012, Equifax sought additional information from Jackson. Jackson supplied the information indicating that his mailing address, at that time, was in Lake Harmony, Pennsylvania. The information provided by Jackson further indicates that for the five years prior to living in Lake Harmony, he was incarcerated in a state prison in Hominy, Oklahoma.

After Jackson supplied the requested information, Equifax still failed to provide a copy of his free credit report. Jackson subsequently filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

As a result of Defendants' alleged conduct, Jackson suffered emotional distress, grief, humiliation, embarrassment, anger, and disappointment. As relief, Jackson seeks $36, 000.00 in actual damages from each Defendant, as well as $36, 000.00 in punitive damages from each Defendant. Jackson also demands a jury trial.

On January 9, 2014, Magistrate Judge Blewitt screened Jackson's Complaint and issued the instant Report and Recommendation. Based on the public and private interest factors relevant to the transfer of an action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), Magistrate Judge Blewitt concludes that the majority of factors weigh in favor of this action being transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

On January 28, 2014, Jackson filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 10.) In particular, Jackson objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to transfer this action to the Northern District of Georgia. According to Jackson, while he is currently incarcerated in Oklahoma, his stay there is only temporary. He asserts that he will return to Pennsylvania in the future and his Pennsylvania address is used for his private and personal interests. (Doc. 11, 2.) Jackson further argues that the majority of private and public interest factors weigh in favor of litigating this action in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Jackson contends that the recommendation to transfer this action should be rejected because

at all relevant times plaintiff lived in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, chose this Court as his forum, a substantial part of the events or issues giving rise to plaintiff's claims occurred in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and for all practical purposes, there is no evidence that any witnesses may actually be unavailable for trial in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, no evidence that copies of books and records could not be produced in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, no evidence that a judgment of this Court would be unable to be enforced, and it is usually easiest to file in the district in which the claim arose.

(Doc. 10, 6.)[1]

The Report and Recommendation and Jackson's objections thereto are now ripe for review.

II. Legal Standard

Where objections to the Magistrate Judge's report are filed, the court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report. Sample v. Diecks , 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)). However, this only applies to the extent that a party's objections are both timely and specific. Goney v. Clark , 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984) (emphasis added). In conducting a de novo review , the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard , 829 F.Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo , the law permits the court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz , 447 U.S. 667, 675-76, 100 S.Ct. 2406, 65 L.Ed.2d 424 (1980); Goney , 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n , 849 F.Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. ...


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