NJ Federal Court Complaint Against Equifax for Mixing Consumer’s Credit File

October 28th, 2010 by krista

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

Jane Doe                                                          

Plaintiff,                               

            vs.                                                                              

                                                                                          

EQUIFAX INFORMATION                                 

SERVICES, LLC.,                                                            

Defendant.                          

      

                                                                         COMPLAINT

 

I.     Preliminary Statement

1.         This is an action for damages brought by an individual consumer against the Defendant for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.as amended, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”), N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq., and various other state laws.

II.     Jurisdiction and Venue

2.         Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1681p and 28 U.S.C. §1331, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367.

3.                  Venue lies properly in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b).

 

III.     Parties

4.         Plaintiff Jane Does is an adult individual who resides in CA.

5.         Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC is a business entity that regularly conducts business in State of New Jersey, and which has a principal place of business located at 6 Clementon Road, East, Suite A2, Gibbsboro, New Jersey 08026.

IV.       Factual Allegations

            6.         Plaintiff has a credit history including various accounts that he had opened over the years including accounts with Bank One, Chase Auto Finance, Chase Bank N.A., CitiBank, Dell Financial Services, Discover Financial Services, GEMB, HSBC, Mercedes Benz Financial, Toyota Motor Credit Corp and WFNNB.

7.         Plaintiff has paid and/or is paying these accounts as agreed.

8.         Further, Plaintiff does not have any delinquent or derogatory accounts.

9.         Defendant has sold credit reports relating to Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s credit history to third parties.

11.       Defendant has sold Plaintiff’s credit report to third parties that are inaccurate in that they reflect that Plaintiff does not have a credit history.

12.       Plaintiff’s credit history is accurately reported on his Trans Union and Experian credit reports.

13.       On or about December 10, 2009, Plaintiff was advised by a major bank that it could not extend credit to him due insufficient credit history on Defendant’s credit report for Plaintiff.  It is not clear what credit history, if any, has been reported about Plaintiff to the bank and other furnishers, known and unknown.

14.       Plaintiff requested his Equifax credit file so that he could determine whether it reflected his credit history accurately.

15.       Specifically, Plaintiff attempted to obtain his credit file from Defendant on October 13, 2009 and on August 6, 2010 and on both occasions discovered that Defendant was reporting that he had no credit and no credit history.

16.       Plaintiff has written to Defendant to dispute Defendant’s failure to report his credit and his credit history accurately on his credit report.  Plaintiff has provided Defendant with copies of his Trans Union and Experian credit reports and letters from an existing creditor as evidence that he has credit and a credit history and that this information is being furnished to Defendant.

17.       Most recently, Plaintiff wrote to Defendant on August 9, 2010 and disputed to Defendant that he had accounts with many creditors including an auto loan from Toyota, a mortgage with Wells Fargo and accounts with CitiBank that Defendant was not reporting.

18.       Defendant wrote back to Plaintiff on August 25, 2010 and again did not provide Plaintiff with an accurate report of his credit and credit history.

19.       To this day, Defendant refuses to provide Plaintiff with a copy of his actual credit file.

20.       As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual damages in the form of loss of credit and loan opportunities, and has had his credit reputation and credit score adversely affected, all of which will continue into the future to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

21.       As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered great emotional and mental pain and anguish, fear, frustration, humiliation and embarrassment, and Plaintiff will continue to suffer the same for an indefinite time in the future, all to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

22.       At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant was acting by and through its agents, servants and/or employees who were acting within the course and scope of their agency or employment, and under the direct supervision and control of the Defendant herein.

23.       At all times pertinent hereto, the conduct of the Defendant as well as that of its agents, servants and/or employees, was malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, and in grossly negligent disregard for federal and state laws and the rights of the Plaintiff herein.        

V.     CLAIMS

COUNT ONE – FCRA

            24.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.

25.       At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant was a “person” and a “consumer reporting agency” as those terms are defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(b) and (f).

26.       At all times pertinent hereto, the Plaintiff was a “consumer” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(c).

27.       At all times pertinent hereto, the above-mentioned credit reports were “consumer reports” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(d).

28.       Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681n and 15 U.S.C. §1681o, Defendant is liable to the Plaintiff for engaging in the following conduct:

(a)        willfully and negligently failing to conduct a proper and reasonable reinvestigation concerning the inaccurate information after receiving notice of the dispute from the Plaintiff, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a);

(b)        willfully and negligently failing to provide prompt notice of the inaccurate information and Plaintiff’s dispute to the furnishing entities, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a);

(c)        willfully and negligently failing to provide all relevant information provided by the Plaintiff regarding the dispute of the inaccurate information to the furnishing entities, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a);

(d)       willfully and negligently failing to review and consider all relevant information submitted by the Plaintiff concerning the dispute of the inaccurate information, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a);

(e)        willfully and negligently failing to timely and properly reinvestigate the inaccurate information after receiving notice of the dispute from the Plaintiff;

(f)        willfully and negligently failing to employ and follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff’s credit report, information and file, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681e(b); and

(g)        willfully and negligently failing to provide Plaintiff with a true and complete copy of his credit file in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681g.

29.       The conduct of Defendant was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, actual damages and harm to the Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant is liable to the Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with the attorney’s fees and the costs of litigation, as well as such further relief, as may be permitted by law.

                                            COUNT TWO – NEGLIGENCE

 

            30.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as if the same were set forth at length herein.

31.       Defendant’s negligence consists of the following:

(a)    Violating the FCRA as set forth above; and

(b)    Failing to provide Plaintiff his credit report upon request.

32.       As a result of Defendant’s above mentioned conduct, Plaintiff sustained and

continues to sustain the losses and damages as set forth above.

33.       The conduct of Defendant was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, damages and harm to Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant is liable to compensate the Plaintiff for the full amount of actual and compensatory damages, as well as such other relief, permitted under the law.

COUNT THREE – VIOLATION OF THE CFA

 

34.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.

35.       Plaintiff and Defendant are “person(s)” as defined by section 56:8-1(d) of the CFA.

36.       Defendant violated the CFA when they violated § 56:8-2 as evidenced by the following conduct:

(a)        the use of unconscionable, deceptive, and fraudulent practices in order to mislead and deceive the Plaintiff in his attempts to access his credit file; and

(b)               knowingly omitting, concealing, and suppressing facts in an ongoing failure to permit Plaintiff  to gain access to his credit file.

37.      Defendant’s acts as described above were done with malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for Plaintiff’s rights under the law.

38.       As a result of Defendant’s malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for the Plaintiff’s rights and the laws of the State of New Jersey, Defendant is liable to the Plaintiff for the full extent of damages allowed by law.

39.      As a result of the above violations of the CFA, Defendant is liable to Plaintiff in the sum of Plaintiff’s damages, treble damages and attorney’s fees and costs.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff claims damages against the Defendant and judgment in his favor, plus lawful interest thereon, and attorney’s fees and costs.

VI.     JURY TRIAL DEMAND

40.      Plaintiff demands trial by jury on all issues so triable.

VII.     PRAYER FOR RELIEF

            WHEREFORE, Plaintiff seeks judgment in Plaintiff’s favor and damages against the Defendant, based on the following requested relief:

(a)        Actual damages;

(b)        Statutory damages;

(c)        Treble damages and punitive damages;

(d)       Costs and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§1681n, 1681o and N.J.S.A. 56:8-19;

(e)          An Order directing Defendant to provided Plaintiff with a copy of his credit file to include all of his accurate credit history; and

(f)          Such other and further relief as may be necessary, just and proper.

DESIGNATION OF TRIAL COUNSEL

                  Plaintiff hereby designates John Soumilas as trial counsel in the above-captioned matter.  Plaintiff reserves the right to amend this designation as necessary.

 

ARBITRATION CERTIFICATION

            I, Mark D. Mailman, counsel of record do hereby certify pursuant to Local Civil Rule 201.1(d) that relief other than monetary damages is sought.  I further certify that, to my knowledge, the within case is not the subject of any action, arbitration or administrative hearing now pending in any court.

NOTICE TO ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ACTION

            A copy of this complaint will be mailed to the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey within ten days after the filing with the Court, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 56:8-20.

Respectfully submitted,

 

FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C.

BY:        /s/ Mark D. Mailman                                                                                                                                                        MARK D. MAILMAN

JOHN SOUMILAS

GEOFFREY H. BASKERVILLE

Land Title Building, 19th Floor

100 South Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19110

(215) 735-8600

Attorneys for Plaintiff

 

Dated: October 13, 2010

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