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Pugh v. Corelogic Credco, LLC

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

October 16, 2013



DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in this action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act ("MCDCA"), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law, § 14-201 et seq., [1] and the Maryland Consumer Protection Act ("MCPA"), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law §§ 13-101 et seq., is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Corelogic Credco, LLC. ("Corelogic" or "Defendant"). (ECF No. 12).[2] The issues are fully briefed, and the court now rules pursuant to Local Rule 105.6, no hearing being deemed necessary. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion will be granted.

I. Background

A. Factual Background[3]

David R. Pugh ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, has sued Corelogic for damages resulting from a "hard pull" of his credit report on August 23, 2012 that allegedly reduced his credit score and resulted in "credit denials, inability to apply for credit, mental anguish and emotional distress." (ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 7, 11).[4] From the limited information in the complaint, Plaintiff seems to allege that Corelogic attempted to collect a debt from him "which Defendant knew, or should have known, could not be done legally, " (Id. ¶ 11), and used an illegal or unregistered alias to obtain Plaintiff's credit report from Experian, a credit reporting agency. ( Id. ¶ 9). Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Corelogic uses multiple aliases in conducting business, including: CREDCO, INC.; CORELOGIC CREDCO, LLC; FIRST AMERICAN CREDCO; FIRST AMERICAN CREDCO, INC.; FIRST ADVANTAGE CREDCO, LLC; and CREDCO/ONETECHNOLOGIES. ( Id. ¶ 10). Plaintiff maintains that Defendant used the alias "CREDCO/ONETECHNOLOGIES" impermissibly to obtain Plaintiff's credit report. ( Id. ). Finally, Plaintiff contends that Defendant's registration to conduct business in Maryland has been cancelled and Defendant has "willfully ignored the law in obtaining Plaintiff's credit report." ( Id. ¶ 8).

B. Procedural Background

On April 24, 2013, Plaintiff commenced this action in the District Court of Maryland for Prince George's County. (ECF No. 2). In the complaint, Plaintiff asserted that Corelogic did not have a permissible purpose for pulling his credit report and therefore violated the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681b. Plaintiff further alleged that Corelogic violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681q by knowingly and willfully obtaining information under false pretenses. Plaintiff also averred that Defendant violated the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., the MCDCA, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 14-201 et seq., and the MCPA, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 13-301 et seq.

Defendant removed the action to this court on June 3, 2013, citing federal question jurisdiction as the jurisdictional basis. (ECF No. 1). On the same date, Defendant filed a "Notice of Intent to Defend, " which is equivalent to an answer to Plaintiff's complaint. (ECF No. 4). Defendant then moved to dismiss the complaint on June 10, 2013, on the ground that Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted for all of the claims asserted. (ECF No. 12). Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice, which advised him of the pendency of the motion and his entitlement to respond within seventeen (17) days from the date of the letter. Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975) (holding pro se plaintiffs should be advised of their right to file responsive material to a motion for summary judgment).[5] Plaintiff did not oppose the motion. Given that the time for Plaintiff to file an opposition has elapsed, this matter is now ripe for resolution.

II. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that "[a]fter the pleadings are closed - but early enough not to delay trial - a party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Under the circumstances presented here, the motion is governed by the same standard governing motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Burbach Broad Co. v. Elkins Radio Corp., 278 F.3d 401, 405-06 (4th Cir. 2002).

The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). A plaintiff's complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a), which requires a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief." Bell. Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 n.3 (2007). That showing must consist of more than "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" or "naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citations omitted).

At this stage, all well-pled allegations in a complaint must be considered as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994), and all factual allegations must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) ( citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). In evaluating the complaint, unsupported legal allegations need not be accepted. Revene v. Charles Cnty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). Legal conclusions couched as factual allegations are insufficient, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, as are conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged, but it has not show[n]... that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 ( quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). Thus, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

III. Analysis

A. FCRA Claim ...

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