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Letren v. PNC Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 1, 2017

NEIL F. LETREN, pro se Plaintiff
v.
PNC BANK, N.A. Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PETER J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pro se Plaintiff Neil F. Letren has filed a lawsuit against PNC Bank, N.A. (“PNC”) alleging that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq, in connection with two mortgage loans he took out in 2007. Letren avers that PNC conducted an inadequate investigation as to whether it owned the mortgage loans in response to a dispute Letren submitted to an unspecified credit reporting agency (“CRAs).

         PNC has filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, ECF No. 15, which, for the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         National City Mortgage Company (NCMC) issued two mortgage loans to Letren in July 2007. ECF No. 13 ¶ 4. Defendant PNC acquired NCMC in November 2009. Id. at ¶5. According to Letren, at some point prior to its acquisition, NCMC sold his mortgages to a third party. Id. at ¶6.

         Notwithstanding this, at some point, PNC began reporting that it held both of his mortgage loans to credit reporting agencies. Id. ¶ 14. Letren sent three letters to the CRAs disputing that PNC owned the loans, the latest of which was sent in “August 2014.” Id. ¶ 16. In response to the CRAs' investigations, PNC verified that it held the mortgages despite the fact that it did not possess any supporting documentation. Id. ¶ 19. As a result, Letren's credit reports continued to inaccurately report that PNC was the owner of his mortgages, causing him to suffer actual damages. Id. ¶ 20.

         Letren filed suit against PNC in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County on August 29, 2016. ECF No. 1. PNC removed the action to this Court on November 22, 2016, id., and filed a Motion to Dismiss on December 13, 2016. ECF No. 11.

         Letren filed an Amended Complaint on January 4, 2017, ECF No. 13, alleging that PNC violated the FCRA when it “did not conduct a thorough, detailed, and careful inquiry of [his] claims, ” ECF No. 13 ¶ 22, including verifying that it was the owner of Letren's mortgages. Instead it simply verified that the information on the credit report was consistent with the information in its computer system and reported back to the CRAs that the account was properly listed. ECF No. 13 ¶ 22. PNC did not report to the CRAs that Letren had previously disputed the account directly to PNC. Id. ¶¶ 26-27. These actions, Letren says, are evidence that PNC willfully violated the FCRA, or was at least negligent. Id. ¶¶ 28-31.

         PNC filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on February 10, 2017, arguing that the two year statute of limitations had run with respect to Letren's claim. ECF No. 15. Letren Responded, ECF No. 16, and PNC Replied. ECF No. 17.

         ANALYSIS

         Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where “all material allegations of fact are admitted in the pleadings and only questions of law remain.” Republic Ins. Co. v. Culbertson, 717 F.Supp. 415, 418 (E.D. Va. 1989)(quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1367, at 685 (1969)). In considering such a motion, the Court should “accept[] all well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and draw[] all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor.” Drager v. PLIVA USA, Inc., 741 F.3d 470, 474 (4th Cir. 2014)(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir.1999)). The Court should not dismiss “a pro se litigant's complaint . . . unless it appears beyond doubt that the litigant can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Siple v. First Franklin Fin. Corp., No. CIV.A. RDB-14-2841, 2015 WL 2374414, at *2 (D. Md. May 15, 2015), reconsideration denied, No. CV RDB-14-2841, 2015 WL 6163791 (D. Md. Oct. 19, 2015), aff'd, 653 F.App'x 786 (4th Cir. 2016), and aff'd, 653 F.App'x 786 (4th Cir. 2016).

         The FCRA provides that “[i]f the completeness or accuracy of any item of information contained in a consumer's file at a consumer reporting agency is disputed by the consumer . . . the [CRA] shall, free of charge, conduct a reasonable reinvestigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate and record the current status of the disputed information, or delete the item from the file . . . before the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the agency receives the notice of the dispute from the consumer or reseller.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681i (a)(1)(A). As part of these disputes, CRAs typically ask for verification from the furnisher of the information - in this case, PNC. The statute of limitations for bringing an action under the FCRA is “[two] years after the date of discovery by the plaintiff of the violation that is the basis for such liability.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681p(1).

         Letren filed this lawsuit on August 29, 2016, ECF No. 2, which means that limitations have run with respect to any claims that accrued before August 29, 2014.

         In his Amended Complaint, Letren avers that he discovered that PNC erroneously reported that it owned his mortgages and disputed that in a “letter dated August 2014” to the CRAs. ECF No. 13 ¶16. He alleges that he did not receive the results of the investigation until “September 2014, ” which is when he discovered that PNC's investigation was deficient, and that “[u]pon information and belief, [the] PNC investigation was conducted after August 29, 2014.” Id. In his Response to PNC's Motion, Letren elaborated on his interactions with PNC, asserting that the August 2014 letter was actually ...


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