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Alston v. Citibank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 11, 2015

THOMAS ALSTON Individually and on Behalf of a Class of Persons Similarly Situated
v.
CITIBANK, N.A

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Presently pending and ready for resolution in this consumer case is the motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Citibank, N.A. ("Citibank" or "Defendant") (ECF No. 11). The issues have been fully briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The following facts are alleged in the complaint. Plaintiff asserts that he applied for a Citi Diamond Preferred MasterCard account with Citibank in February 2013 to make consumer purchases. (ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 4-5). Plaintiff states that upon information and belief, Citibank did not accept his application for a credit card. (Id. ¶ 6). Plaintiff avers that Citibank obtained and reviewed his credit report in denying his application for a credit card. (Id. ¶ 8). According to Plaintiff, he did not receive any notice from Citibank that his application was denied. (Id. ¶ 9).

Plaintiff believes that Citibank regularly accepts applications for consumer credit cards, regularly uses consumer credit scores in evaluating such applications, and denies the applications without providing notice to the applicants. (Id. ¶¶ 11-13). He contends that "[a]t all times relevant to the matters alleged in this Complaint, Citibank's policy and practice regarding credit scores and credit reports were similar for all its consumer applicants denied credit card applications." (Id. ¶ 14).

B. Procedural Background

On August 1, 2014, pro se Plaintiff Thomas Alston filed a complaint, on behalf of himself and a class of persons similarly situated, against Defendant Citibank, N.A. in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. (ECF No. 2). Plaintiff asserted violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act ("ECOA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq. In the complaint, Plaintiff seeks, inter alia, statutory and punitive damages, and certification of the proposed class.

On October 10, 2014, Defendant filed a notice of removal, citing federal question as the jurisdictional basis. (ECF No. 1). Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on October 24, 2014. (ECF No. 11). Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice (ECF No. 12), which advised him of the pendency of the motion to dismiss 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). Plaintiff opposed the motion (ECF No. 13), and Defendant replied (ECF No. 14).

II. Standard of Review

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 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, 555 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-pleaded 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).

III. Analysis

A. FCRA ...


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