Pennsylvania Complaint Against Trans Union, Experian and Equifax, RBS Citizens, N.A., U.S. Bank, N.A., Discover, Chase, and Asset Acceptance, LLC for False Reporting of Accounts, as a Result of Idenitity Theft and Fraud

October 19th, 2012 by krista


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

 

 JANE DOE,  

          Plaintiffs,

 

v.

 

TRANS UNION, LLC, EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, RBS CITIZENS, N.A., U.S. BANK, N.A., DISCOVER FINANCIAL SERVICES, CHASE BANK USA, N.A., and ASSET ACCEPTANCE, LLC

 

          Defendants.

 

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  Civil Action No.

COMPLAINT

  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,  the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (hereafter the “FDCPA”) , 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq. and other state laws.

JURISDICTION & VENUE

  1. Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1681p, 15 U.S.C. §1692k(b), 28 U.S.C. §1331, 1337, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367.
  2. Venue lies properly in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b).

PARTIES

  1. Plaintiff is an adult individual who resides in Alameda, California.
  2. Defendant, Trans Union, LLC (hereafter “Trans Union”), is a business entity which regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and which has a principal place of business located at 1510 Chester Pike, Crum Lynne, PA 19022.
  3. Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (hereafter “Experian”) is a business entity that regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and which has a principal place of business located at 5 Century Drive, Parsippany, New Jersey 07054
  4. Defendant Equifax Information Services LLC (hereafter “Equifax”) is a business entity which regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and which has a principal place of business located at 6 Clementon Road, East, Suite A2, Gibbsboro, New Jersey 08026.
  5. Defendant, RBS Citizens, N.A. (hereafter “Citizens”) a business entity which regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and which has a principal place of business at 1234 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107.
  6. Defendant, U.S. Bank, N.A. (hereafter “U.S. Bank”) is a business entity which regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and which has a principal place of business located at 425 Walnut Street, Cincinati OH 45202.
  7. Defendant, Discover Financial Services (hereafter “Discover”), is a business entity that regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvnania, and which has a principal place of business at 2500 Lakecook Road, Riverwoods, Illinois 60015 .
  8. Defendant Chase Bank USA, N.A. (“Chase”) is a business entity which regularly conducts business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and which has a principal place of business at 575 Washington Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07310.
  9. Defendant Asset Acceptance, LLC (hereafter “Asset Acceptance”) is a business entity regularly doing business in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with a principal office located at 15 East Centre Street, Deptford, NJ 08096.  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

  1. 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”).
  2. The inaccurate information includes, but is not limited to, accounts with Citizens, US Bank, Discover, Chase and Asset Acceptance which were opened or used as a result of identity theft.
  3. 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, or which misrepresent the payment history and/or status of accounts that do belong to the Plaintiff as well as incorrect personal identifying information.
  4. Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, have 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.
  5. Plaintiff has disputed the inaccurate information with the Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, by oral and written communications to their representatives and by following Experian’s, Equifax’s, and Trans Union’s established procedure for disputing consumer credit information since at least March 2011.
  6. Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s efforts, Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, have sent Plaintiff correspondence indicating their intent to continue publishing the inaccurate information and Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, continue to publish and disseminate such inaccurate information to other third parties, persons, entities and credit grantors. Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, have repeatedly published and disseminated consumer reports to such third parties, including but limited to, October of 2010 through the present.
  7. Despite Plaintiff’s efforts, Defendant, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, have never: 1) contacted the 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; 4) requested or obtained any credit applications, or other relevant documents from the entities furnishing the inaccurate information; and 5) performed any handwriting analysis.
  8. Additionally, Plaintiff has repeatedly disputed the inaccurate information concerning the Citizens Bank, US Bank, Discover, Chase and Asset Acceptance accounts with these Defendants. Notwithstanding Plaintiff’s disputes, Citizens Bank, US Bank, Discover, Chase and Asset Acceptance 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, have willfully continued to report such inaccurate information to various credit reporting agencies, have failed to mark the above accounts as disputed and have continued to attempt to collect monies from the Plaintiff regarding the inaccurate information by the aforementioned conduct.
  9. Despite Plaintiff’s exhaustive efforts to date, Defendants 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.
  10. Notwithstanding the above, in 2010, Defendant Chase, caused a lawsuit to be filed against Plaintiff in the Superior Court of California, Alemeda County,  Docket Number AG10524785 (the “lawsuit”), seeking to collect the debt  at issue from Plaintiff.
  11. Defendant Chase lacked probable cause to file the lawsuit because these Defendants knew or should have known that Plaintiff was not responsible for the debt as Plaintiff has previously advised that she was the victim of identity theft.
  12. Defendant Chase’s filing of the lawsuit served no purpose other than to harass Plaintiff in order to force her to pay a debt that was not her responsibility.
  13. Despite Plaintiff’s repeated requests for validation, Defendant Chase never provided Plaintiff with any information or documentation showing that Plaintiff was responsible for the debt and continued to prosecute Plaintiff through the lawsuit.
  14. Plaintiff was thus forced to defend herself against the lawsuit
  15.  On or about April 18, 2011, Plaintiff  secured a dismissal of the matter in connection with the lawsuit without objection from Defendant Chase.
  16. Despite the fact that a dismissal with prejudice was entered in the improper collection lawsuit against Plaintiff,  Chase did not cease its collection activity including reporting the debt to the consumer reporting agencies.
  17. Plaintiff has applied for and has been denied various loans and extensions of consumer credit on many different occasions, and Plaintiff has been informed that the basis for these denials was the inaccurate information that appears on Plaintiff’s credit reports and that the inaccurate information was a substantial factor for those denials.
  18. Plaintiff’s credit reports and file have been obtained from Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, and have been reviewed many times by prospective and existing credit grantors and extenders of credit, and the inaccurate information has been a substantial factor in precluding Plaintiff from receiving many different credit offers and opportunities, known and unknown, and from receiving the most favorable terms in financing and interest rates for credit offers that were ultimately made.
  19. As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual damages in the form of lost credit opportunities, harm to credit reputation and credit score, and emotional distress.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.

CLAIMS

             COUNT I – EXPERIAN, EQUIFAX & TRANSUNION

VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. At all times pertinent hereto, Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, were “persons” and “consumer reporting agencies” as those terms are defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(b) and (f).
  3. At all times pertinent hereto, Plaintiff was a “consumer” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(c).
  4. 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).
  5. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681n and 15 U.S.C. §1681o, Defendants are 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.
  6. The conduct of Defendants, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, 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, Defendants are 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  –  CITZENS, US BANK DISCOVER, CHASE & ASSET ACCEPTANCE

VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. At all times pertinent hereto, Defendants, Citizens Bank, US Bank, Discover, Chase, and Asset Acceptance, were “persons” as that term defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(b).
  3. Defendants violated sections 1681n and 1681o of the FCRA by willfully and negligently failing to comply with the requirements imposed on furnishers of information pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681s-2(b).
  4. Defendants, Citizens Bank, US Bank, Discover, Chase and Asset Acceptance’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, Citizens Bank, US Bank, Discover, Chase and Asset Acceptance, are 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 III – ASSET ACCEPTANCE

VIOLATIONS OF THE FDCPA

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant Asset Acceptance is a “debt collector” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6) of the FDCPA.
  3. Plaintiff is a “consumer” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(3) of the FDCPA.
  4. The above contacts between Defendant and Plaintiff were “communications” relating to a “debt” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2) and 1692a(5) of the FDCPA.
  5. Defendant violated the FDCPA.  Defendant’s violations include, but are not limited to, violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(8), 1692e(10), and 1692f, as evidenced by the following conduct:
    1.   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
    2. Otherwise using false, deceptive, misleading and unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect the alleged debt from Plaintiff.
    3. Defendant’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 the alleged debt.
    4. As a result of the above violations of the FDCPA, Defendant is liable to Plaintiff in the sum of Plaintiff’s statutory damages, actual damages and attorney’s fees and costs.

COUNT IV – CHASE

MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant Chase wrongfully initiated a civil action against Plaintiff in 2010.
  3. On or about April 2011, said suit was terminated in Plaintiff’s favor.
  4. Defendant lacked probable cause to prosecute the action as described above.
  5. Defendant’s continued prosecution of the lawsuit against Plaintiff was also not in an effort to bring the rightful debtor to pay his or her obligation.  Indeed, Defendant pursued the action through even after having received repeated notification from Plaintiff and after having failed to verify the disputed debt.
  6. Defendant as such acted in a knowing, willful, reckless, malicious and/or grossly negligent manner for purposes other than adjudicating the claims for which the proceeding were  brought as described above.
  7. 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.

COUNT V – CHASE

Abuse of Process

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant Chase instituted a civil proceeding and continued to prosecute Plaintiff as stated more full above.
  3. Defendant used these proceedings for an ulterior or wrongful purpose for which the proceedings were not designed to accomplish including but not limited to harassing Plaintiff into paying for a debt for which she was not responsible to pay.
  4. Defendant as such acted in a knowing, willful, reckless, malicious and/or grossly negligent manner for purposes other than adjudicating the claims for which the proceeding were  brought as described above.
  5. 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.

VI.     JURY TRIAL DEMAND

  1. 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:

  1. Actual damages;
  2. Statutory damages;
  3. Punitive damages;
  4. Costs and reasonable attorney’s fees; and
  5. Such other and further relief as may be necessary, just and proper.

 

Respectfully submitted,

FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C.

BY:        /s/ Mark D. Mailman                                   

MARK D. MAILMAN, 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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