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Suit v. Directv, LLC

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

December 20, 2013

CHRISTINA L. SUIT, Plaintiff,
v.
DIRECTV, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Christina L. Suit ("Suit") filed the currently pending action, alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Defendant Direct TV, LLC ("Direct TV")[1] has filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3). The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, Defendant Directv, LLC's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3) is GRANTED, and this case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

BACKGROUND

This Court accepts as true the facts alleged in the plaintiff's' complaint. See Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff Suit alleges that "[o]n or about March 6, 2012, " Suit contacted Direct TV in order to obtain a rate quote for satellite television service and spoke with one of Direct TV's representatives ("the agent"). Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 8. In the course of the conversation, Suit alleges that the agent asked for Suit's Social Security number. Id. Suit refused, and informed the agent that any account would be solely in her roommate's name. Id. The presently pending action is, in fact, the second time Plaintiff has sought relief for this specific incident in this Court. On June 18, 2012, Suit filed an action against Direct TV for unlawfully accessing her credit report. See Complaint, Suit v. Directv, LLC, No. 12-cv-1784-JKB, 2012 WL 5880280 (Nov. 20, 2012), ECF No. 1. On August 1, 2012, Direct TV filed a Motion to Dismiss, which Judge Bredar of this Court granted on November 12, 2012. See generally Suit, 2012 WL 5880280.

Suit alleges that, thereafter, Direct TV nevertheless obtained her credit report. Id. ¶ 9. Specifically, Suit asserts that:

On or about March 6, 2012, ... Defendant willfully and/or negligently obtained Plaintiff's credit file(s), history, and information from Equifax Inc. Defendant obtained said information impermissibly and through the use of false pretenses, without Plaintiff's consent or knowledge, and without a legitimate business reason to do so. Further, Defendant never informed Plaintiff of this illegal and impermissible access. On information and belief, Defendant obtained this information under the false pretense that Plaintiff had applied for a loan or credit with Defendant.

Id.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is "to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

The Supreme Court's recent opinions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), "require that complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater specificity than previously was required." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). The Supreme Court's decision in Twombly articulated "[t]wo working principles" that courts must employ when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, while a court must accept as true all the factual allegations contained in the complaint, legal conclusions drawn from those facts are not afforded such deference. Id. (stating that "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to plead a claim); see also Wag More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir. 2012) ("Although we are constrained to take the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need not accept legal conclusions couched as facts or unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." (internal quotation marks omitted)).

Second, a complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege "a plausible claim for relief." Id. at 679. Under the plausibility standard, a complaint must contain "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In making this assessment, a court must "draw on its judicial experience and common sense" to determine whether the pleader has stated a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. "At bottom, a plaintiff must nudge [its] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible to resist dismissal." Wag More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).

ANALYSIS

I. Plaintiff Suit Has Failed to State a Claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

As noted by Judge Bredar of this Court in dismissing the Plaintiff's first-filed action, the Fair Credit Reporting Act imposes civil liability on persons, corporations, and entities that willfully or negligently use or obtain a consumer report for any unauthorized purpose. Suit v. Direct TV, LLC, No. 12-cv-1784-JKB, 2012 WL 5880280, at *1 (Nov. 20, 2012). In order to state a claim for improper use or acquisition of a consumer report under the FCRA, a plaintiff must allege facts supporting each of the following elements: "(i) that there was a consumer report; (ii) that Defendant used or ...


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