New Jersey Complaint Against Equifax, Credit Plus, Inc. and Credit Management for Reporting False Information to Third Parties and Mixing Credit Files

August 16th, 2012 by krista


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

 John Doe 

          Plaintiff,

 

v.

 

EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES LLC, CREDIT PLUS, INC. and CREDIT MANAGEMENT

 

          Defendants.

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 Civil Action No.: 

 

 

 

COMPLAINT

 

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

NON-ARBITRATION

 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 (hereafter “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§1692 et seq.

Jurisdiction and Venue

2. Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1681p and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331.

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

Parties

4. Plaintiff is an adult individual who resides in New York.

5. Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC (hereafter “Equifax”) is a consumer reporting agency that regularly conducts business in the District of New Jersey and which has a principal place of business located at 6 Clementon Road, East, Suite A2, Gibbsboro, New Jersey 08026.

6. Defendant Credit Plus, Inc. (hereafter “Credit Plus”) is a consumer reporting agency and reseller of credit information that regularly conducts business in the District of New Jersey and which has a principal place of business located at 31550 Winterplace Parkway, Salisbury, Maryland 21804.

7. Defendant Credit Management (hereafter “Credit Management”) is a business entity which regularly conducts business in the District of New Jersey and which has a principal place of business located at 17070 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75248. The principal purpose of Defendant is the collection of debts already in default using the mails and telephone, and Defendant regularly attempts to collect said debts.

Factual Allegations

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

9. The inaccurate information includes, but is not limited to collection accounts from Asset Acceptance, Credit Management, E.R. Solutions, Hunter Warfield, and Midland Credit Management, and personal information that does not belong to Plaintiff.

10. 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, and that actually belong to another consumer.

11. Due to Defendant Equifax’s faulty procedures, Equifax mixed the credit file of Plaintiff and that of another consumer with respect to the inaccurate information and other personal identifying information.

12. Due to Defendant Credit Plus’ faulty procedures, Credit Plus prepared a credit report with credit information from Equifax that was mixed with that of another consumer.

13. Defendant Equifax and Credit Plus have been reporting the inaccurate information through the issuance of false and inaccurate credit information and consumer credit reports that it has disseminated to various persons and credit grantors, both known and unknown.

14. Plaintiff has disputed the inaccurate information with Defendant Equifax by both oral and written communications to their representatives and by following Equifax’s established procedures for disputing consumer credit information.

15. Plaintiff has disputed the inaccurate information with Equifax from April 2012 through the present.

16. Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s efforts, Equifax sent Plaintiff correspondence indicating its intent to continue publishing the inaccurate information and Equifax continues to publish and disseminate such inaccurate information to other third parties, persons, entities and credit grantors.  Equifax has published and disseminated consumer reports to such third parties from at least February 2012 through the present.

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

18. Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s disputes, Credit Management has also failed to conduct timely and reasonable investigations of Plaintiff’s disputes after being contacted by the relevant credit reporting agencies concerning Plaintiff’s disputes, has willfully continued to report such inaccurate information to various credit reporting agencies, and has failed to mark the above accounts as disputed.

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

20. As a result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual damages in the form of lost credit opportunities, harm to credit reputation and credit score, and emotional distress.

21. At all times pertinent hereto, Defendants were 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 Defendants herein.

22. At all times pertinent hereto, the conduct of the Defendants, 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.

COUNT I  – EQUIFAX

VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA 

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

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

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

26. 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).

27. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681n and 15 U.S.C. § 1681o, Equifax is liable to Plaintiff for willfully and negligently failing to comply with the requirements imposed on a consumer reporting agency of information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681e and 1681i.

28. The conduct of Equifax 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, Equifax is liable to the Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with the attorneys’ fees and the costs of litigation, as well as such further relief, as may be permitted by law.

COUNT II  – CREDIT PLUS

VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

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

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

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

32. 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).

33. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1681n and 15 U.S.C. § 1681o, Credit Plus is liable to the Plaintiff for engaging in the following conduct 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)

34. The conduct of Credit Plus 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, Credit Plus is liable to the Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with the attorneys’ fees and the costs of litigation, as well as such further relief, as may be permitted by law.

COUNT III – CREDIT MANAGEMENT

VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

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

36. At all times pertinent hereto, Credit Management was a “person” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(b).

37. Credit Management violated sections 1681n and 1681o of the FCRA by engaging in the following conduct willfully and negligently failing to comply with the requirements imposed on furnishers of information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681s-2(b).

38. Credit Management’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 Credit Management is liable to compensate Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as such other relief, permitted by law.

COUNT IV – CREDIT MANAGEMENT

VIOLATIONS OF THE FDCPA

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

40. Defendant Credit Management is a “debt collector” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6) of the FDCPA.

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

42. The above disputes by Plaintiff and the reporting of inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies by Credit Management are “communications” relating to a “debt” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2) and 1692a(5) of the FDCPA.

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

44. Credit Management violated the FDCPA. Defendant’s violations include, but are not limited to, violations of 15 U.S.C. 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 the debt;

(b)   The use of false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt;

(c)    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

(d)   Otherwise using false, deceptive, misleading and unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.

45. Credit Management’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.

Jury Trial Demand

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

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 attorneys fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n, 1681o and 1692k;

 DESIGNATION OF TRIAL COUNSEL

             Plaintiff hereby designates Mark Mailman and Gregory Gorski as trial counsel in the above-captioned matter.  Plaintiff reserves the right to amend this designation as necessary.

ARBITRATION CERTIFICATION

I, Mark Mailman, counsel of record do hereby certify pursuant to Local Civil Rule 201.1(d) that relief other than monetary damages is sought and that the damages sought are in excess of $150,000.  I further certify that, to my knowledge, the within case is not related to any case now pending or within one year previously terminated action in this court.

Respectfully Submitted,

FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C. 

BY:      /s/ Mark D. Mailman_

MARK D. MAILMAN, ESQUIRE

JOHN SOUMILAS, ESQUIRE

GREGORY GORSKI, ESQUIRE

Land Title Building, 19th Floor

100 South Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19110

(215) 735-8600

Attorneys for Plaintiff

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