Florida Legal Complaint Against Equifax and Debt Collectors for Misreporting Consumers Credit History

January 11th, 2011 by krista

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORDIA

Jane Doe                                    

  Plaintiff,                                          

            vs.                                                                              

EQUIFAX INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, LLC

and AMERICAN COLLECTION SERVICES, INC. and                                                                 

HARRIS & HARRIS, LTD.  and                                                              

PROGRESSIVE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS,  INC.                                                                           

Defendants.                           

COMPLAINT

I.          PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

1.         This is an action for damages brought by an individual consumer against the Defendants for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (hereafter the “FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.as amended, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq. (hereafter the “FDCPA”).

II.     JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2.         Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1681p, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

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

III.     PARTIES

4.         Plaintiff Jane Doe,  is an adult individual who resides in Flordia.

5.         Defendant, Equifax Information Solutions, Inc. (hereafter “EQ”) is a consumer reporting agency that regularly conducts business in the Middle District of Florida, and which has a principal place of business located at 1550 Peach Tree Street, N.W., Atlanta, GA 30309.

6.         Defendant American Collection Services, Inc. (hereafter “ACS”) is a business entity that has a principal place of business located at 3100 SW 59th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73119. The principal purpose of Defendant ACS is the collection of debts using the mails and telephone, and Defendant ACS regularly attempts to collect debts alleged to be due another.

7.         Defendant Harris & Harris, Ltd., (hereafter “Harris & Harris”) is a business entity that has a principal place of business located at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois, 60654. The principal purpose of Defendant Harris & Harris is the collection of debts using the mails and telephone, and Defendant Harris & Harris regularly attempts to collect debts alleged to be due another.

8.         Defendant Progressive Management Systems, Inc. (hereafter, “Progressive”) is a business entity that has a principal place of business located at 1521 West Cameron Avenue, West Covina, California, 91790. The principal purpose of Defendant Progressive is the collection of debts using the mails and telephone, and Defendant Progressive regularly attempts to collect debts alleged to be due another.

 

IV.       FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

9.         Defendants have been reporting derogatory and inaccurate statements and information relating to Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s credit history to third parties (hereafter the “inaccurate information”).

10.       The inaccurate information includes, but is not limited to, accounts with GMAC, Business Revenue Systems and Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive.

11.       The inaccurate information negatively reflects upon the Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s credit repayment history, Plaintiff’s financial responsibility as a debtor and Plaintiff’s credit worthiness. The inaccurate information consists of accounts and/or tradelines that do not belong to the Plaintiff as well as incorrect personal identifying information.

12.       Defendant EQ has been reporting the inaccurate information through the issuance of false and inaccurate credit information and consumer credit reports that they have disseminated to various persons and credit grantors, both known and unknown.

13.       Plaintiff has repeatedly disputed the inaccurate information with Defendant EQ by following EQ’s established procedure for disputing consumer credit information.

14.       Plaintiff has repeatedly disputed the inaccurate information with Defendant EQ on multiple occasions, including but not limited to, from May 2010  through the present.

15.       Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s efforts, Defendant EQ has sent Plaintiff correspondence indicating its intent to continue publishing the inaccurate information and Defendant EQ continued to publish and disseminate such inaccurate information to other third parties, persons, entities and credit grantors. Defendant EQ has published and disseminated consumer reports to such third parties, including but not limited to, from May 2010 through the present.

16.       Despite Plaintiff’s efforts, Defendant EQ has never: (1) contacted the Plaintiff to follow up on, verify and/or elicit more specific information about Plaintiff’s disputes; (2) contacted third parties that would have relevant information concerning Plaintiff’s disputes; (3) forwarded all relevant information concerning Plaintiff’s disputes to the entities originally furnishing the inaccurate information; and (4) requested or obtained any other relevant documents from the entities furnishing the inaccurate information, or from any third party.

17.       Additionally, Plaintiff has repeatedly disputed the inaccurate information concerning the ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive accounts to Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive.  Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s disputes, ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive have also failed to conduct timely and reasonable investigations of Plaintiff’s disputes after being contacted by the credit reporting agencies concerning Plaintiff’s disputes, have willfully continued to report such inaccurate information to various credit reporting agencies and have failed to mark the above account as disputed.

18.       Despite Plaintiff’s exhaustive efforts to date, Defendant EQ has nonetheless deliberately, willfully, intentionally, recklessly and negligently repeatedly failed to perform reasonable reinvestigations of the above disputes as required by the FCRA, has failed to remove the inaccurate information, has failed to report on the results of its reinvestigations to all credit reporting agencies, has failed to note the disputed status of the inaccurate information and has continued to report the derogatory inaccurate information about the Plaintiff.

19.       Despite Plaintiff’s repeated requests and payments for goods and services in the form of consumer versions of Defendant EQ’s credit reports and requests to investigate and correct inaccurate information disputed by Plaintiff, Defendant EQ has refused and failed to furnish Plaintiff with timely disclosures of Plaintiff’s credit reports and to investigate Plaintiff’s disputes.

20.       Plaintiff has applied for and has been denied loans and extensions of consumer credit and the basis for these denials was the inaccurate information that appears on Plaintiff’s EQ credit report which was a substantial factor for those denials.

21.       Plaintiff’s credit report has been obtained from Defendant EQ and has been reviewed by prospective and existing credit grantors and extenders of credit, and the inaccurate information has been a substantial factor in precluding Plaintiff from receiving different credit offers and opportunities, known and unknown.

22.       As a further result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered great emotional and mental pain and anguish, and Plaintiff will continue to suffer the same for an indefinite time in the future, all to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

23.       As a further result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered injury to his credit rating and reputation, and Plaintiff will continue to suffer the same for an indefinite time in the future, all to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

24.       As a result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered a decreased credit score.

25.       At all times pertinent hereto, Defendants were acting by and through their 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 Defendants herein.

26.       At all times pertinent hereto, the conduct of the Defendants, as well as that of their 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- VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

(Plaintiff v. EQ)

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

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

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

30.       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).

31.       Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681n and 15 U.S.C. §1681o, Defendant EQ are 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 delete the inaccurate information from Plaintiff’s credit file after reinvestigation, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a);

(f)    willfully and negligently failing to note the Plaintiff’s dispute of the inaccurate  information and in subsequent consumer reports, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681i(c);

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

(h)   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);

(i)     willfully and negligently failing to properly and timely delete the inaccurate information  from the Plaintiff’s credit files despite being unable to verify the accuracy of the information and/or being provided with proof of its inaccuracy; and

(j)     willfully and negligently continuing to report the inaccurate information despite having knowledge of its inaccuracy and/or inability to be verified.

32.       The conduct of Defendant EQ 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 – VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

(Plaintiff v. ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive)

 

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

34.       At all times pertinent hereto, DefendantsACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive, are “persons” as that term defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(b).

35.       Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive, violated sections 1681n and 1681o of the FCRA by engaging in the following conduct:

(a)    willfully and negligently failing to conduct an investigation of the inaccurate information that Plaintiff disputed;

(b)   willfully and negligently failing to review all relevant information concerning Plaintiff’s account provided to; ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive

(c)    willfully and negligently failing to report the results of investigations to the relevant consumer reporting agencies;

(d)   willfully and negligently failing to report the inaccurate status of the inaccurate information to all credit reporting agencies;

(e)    willfully and negligently failing to properly participate, investigate and comply with the reinvestigations that were conducted by any and all credit reporting agencies concerning the inaccurate information disputed by Plaintiff;

(f)    willfully and negligently failing to provide any and all credit reporting agencies with the factual information and evidence that Plaintiff submitted to ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive, and which proved that the information concerning the Plaintiff’s credit reports was inaccurate;

(g)   willfully and negligently continuing to furnish and disseminate inaccurate and derogatory credit, account and other information concerning the Plaintiff to credit reporting agencies and other entities; and

(h)   willfully and negligently failing to comply with the requirements imposed on furnishers of information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681s-2(b).

36.       Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive’s conduct was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in causing the serious injuries, damages and harm to the Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above, and as a result, Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive are liable to compensate Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees and costs, as well as such other relief, permitted by law.

COUNT THREE – FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT

                             (Plaintiff v. ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive)

 

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

38.       Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive are “debt collectors” as defined

by 15 U.S.C. §1692a(6) of the FDCPA.

39.      Plaintiff is a “consumer” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(3) of the FDCPA.

40.       The above disputes by Plaintiff and the reporting of the inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies by Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive are “communications” relating to a “debt” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2) and 1692a(5) of the FDCPA.

41.       Any alleged debts at issue arose out of a transaction which was primarily for personal, family or household purposes.

42.       Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive violated the FDCPA.

Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive violations include, but are not limited to, violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692e(2)(A), 1692e(8), 1692e(10), and 1692f, as evidenced by the following conduct:

(a)    The false representation of the amount, character or legal status of a          debt;

(b)   Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed; and

(c)    Otherwise using false, deceptive, misleading and unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect a debt from the Plaintiff.

43.       Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive’s acts as described above were done with malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for Plaintiff’s rights under the law and with the purpose of coercing Plaintiff to pay monies relating to the inaccurate information.

        44.       As a result of the above violations of the FDCPA, Defendants ACS, Harris & Harris and Progressive are liable to Plaintiff in the sum of Plaintiff’s statutory damages, actual damages and attorney’s fees and costs.

VI.     JURY TRIAL DEMAND

45.      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 Defendants, based on the following requested relief:

(a)    Actual damages;

(b)   Statutory damages;

(c)    Punitive damages;

(d)   Costs and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§1681n,  1681o and 1692k;

(e)    An order directing that Defendants immediately delete all of the inaccurate information from Plaintiff’s credit reports and files and cease reporting the inaccurate information to any and all persons and entities to whom they report consumer credit information;

(f)    An order directing that Defendant  EQ send to all persons and entities to whom they have reported Plaintiff’s inaccurate information within the last three years Plaintiff’s updated and corrected credit report information; and;

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

Respectfully submitted,


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