United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
E.K. PRATTER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Se Plaintiff Steven Leboon alleges that Equifax
Information Services, LLC violated the Fair Credit Reporting
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., by including a
collections account from DS Waters of America, Inc. on Mr.
Leboon's credit report. Specifically, Mr. Leboon alleges
that Equifax failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure
maximum possible accuracy in the preparation of his credit
report in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) (Count II);
failed to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation of his credit
file in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681i (Counts I, III,
and VI); failed to provide him access to his credit file upon
request in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681g (Count
and willfully violated these provisions of the FCRA,
triggering statutory and punitive damages under 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681n (Count VII). Mr. Leboon also asserts a
Pennsylvania state law claim for the tort of
"outrage," more commonly referred to as intentional
infliction of emotional distress (Count IV).
moves for dismissal of all of Mr. Leboon's claims. The
Court will dismiss Mr. Leboon's Section 1681e(b) and
1681i claims because Mr. Leboon failed to allege how
Equifax's reporting of the DS Waters trade line was
factually inaccurate. The Court will also dismiss Mr.
Leboon's intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim because Equifax's alleged conduct does not rise to
the level of atrocity needed to sustain a claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress under
Pennsylvania law. However, the Court will not dismiss Mr.
Leboon's Section 1681g claim because he sufficiently
pleaded that Equifax failed to provide him access to his
credit report upon request. And because Mr. Leboon pleaded
that Equifax willfully ignored his requests for access to his
credit report, Mr. Leboon may, at this time, pursue statutory
and or punitive damages under Section 1681n.
Leboon is a "consumer" as defined by 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681a(c). Equifax is a "consumer reporting
agency" as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f). In
April 2017, Mr. Leboon reviewed a copy of his credit report
produced by Equifax. One of the trade lines reflected a
collections account reported to Equifax by the Collections
Bureau of America, acting on behalf of DS Waters of America,
Inc. Amend. Compl. at ¶ 13. Shortly thereafter, Mr.
Leboon informed Equifax, among other things, that he believed
the DS Waters trade line was "false and improper"
and requested that Equifax remove it from his credit report.
See Exh. B to Amend. Compl. Mr. Leboon sent
additional letters to Equifax regarding the DS Waters trade
line in July 2017. See Exh. D to Amend. Compl. A
review of these letters, which are attached to Mr.
Leboon's Amended Complaint, reveals that Mr. Leboon
alleges that the DS Waters trade line should not have been
included on his credit report for three reasons: (1) it was
not an "FCRA credit account"; (2) no court had
entered judgment that he owed the balance; and (3) his
contract with DS Waters called for billing disputes to be
resolved through arbitration. See Exhs. B and D to
August 2017, Equifax informed Mr. Leboon that it had
"researched the collection account" and
"verified that this item ha[d] been reported
correctly." See Exh. F to Amend. Compl. Mr.
Leboon alleges that Equifax failed to reasonably investigate
the DS Waters trade line and failed to delete it from his
credit report. Amend. Compl. at ¶ 37. He further alleges
that he was subsequently denied credit by three banks because
of the presence of the "inaccuracies of the
trade-lines" on his credit report. Id. at
2018, Mr. Leboon filed this lawsuit against Equifax.
Originally, he asserted that Equifax: (1) violated 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681s-2(b) by failing to remove the allegedly
inaccurate information from his credit report; (2) committed
common law negligence with respect to the same, and (3)
committed civil conspiracy with respect to the same. The
Court dismissed Mr. Leboon's original complaint because
15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b) applies to furnishers of
information under the FCRA, not to consumer reporting
agencies like Equifax, his common law negligence claim was
preempted by the FCRA, and-without an underlying violation of
law-Mr. Leboon could not sustain his civil conspiracy claim.
The Court granted Mr. Leboon leave to amend.
Mr. Leboon filed his Amended Complaint. In addition to claims
concerning the allegedly inaccurate DS Waters trade line, Mr.
Leboon asserts that, in June 2018, while this case was
pending, Equifax blocked him from accessing his credit
report. Mr. Leboon states that he complained to Equifax for
"weeks" about being unable to access his credit
file. Id. at ¶ 27. Equifax allegedly ignored
Mr. Leboon's requests until Mr. Leboon sent an email to
Equifax's counsel on June 22, 2018 demanding access.
Id. at ¶ 26. Mr. Leboon admits that Equifax
gave him access to his credit file three days later on June
25, 2018. Id. at ¶ 27.
now moves to dismiss Mr. Leboon's Amended Complaint.
outset, the Court notes that Mr. Leboon's pro se
pleading must be "liberally construed." Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see also Bieros
v. Nicola, 839 F.Supp. 332, 334 (E.D. Pa. 1993).
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the sufficiency of a
complaint. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,"
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, "to 'give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests, '" the plaintiff must
provide "more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted) (alteration in
survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead
"factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Specifically, "[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. The question is not whether the claimant "will
ultimately prevail. .. but whether his complaint [is]
sufficient to cross the federal court's threshold."
Skinner v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 530 (2011)
(citation and quotations omitted).
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court adheres
to certain well-recognized parameters. For one, the Court
"must consider only those facts alleged in the complaint
and accept all of the allegations as true." ALA,
Inc. v. CCAIR, Inc., 29 F.3d 855, 859 (3d Cir. 1994);
see also Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223,
230 (3d Cir. 2010) ("[A] court must consider only the
complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if
the complainant's claims are based upon these
documents."). Also, the Court must accept as true all
reasonable inferences emanating from the allegations, and
view those facts and inferences in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. See Rocks v. City of Phila.,
868 F.2d 644, 645 (3d Cir. 1989).
admonition does not demand that the Court ignore or discount
reality. The Court "need not accept as true unsupported
conclusions and unwarranted inferences." Doug Grant,
Inc. v. Greate Bay Casino Corp.,232 F.3d 173, 183-84
(3d Cir. 2000) (citations and quotations omitted).
"[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the
allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also
Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist.,132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d
Cir. 1997) (explaining that a court need not accept a
plaintiffs "bald assertions" or "legal
conclusions") (citations omitted). If a claim "is
vulnerable to 12(b)(6) dismissal, a ...