United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
YVONNE R. ALSTON, Plaintiff,
BRANCH BANKING & TRUST COMPANY, et al., Defendants.
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se plaintiff Yvonne R. Alston's complaint originally
alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
("FCRA"). 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.,
the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act
("MCDCA"). Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 14-201
et seq.. and the Maryland Consumer Protection Act
("MCPA"). Md. Code Ann.. Com. Law § 13-101
et seq. against Defendants Branch Banking and Trust
Company ("BB&T"). Equifax Information Services.
LLC (“Equifax"). Experian Information Solutions.
Inc. ("Experian"), Trans Union. LLC ("Trans
Union"), and Midland Credit Management. Inc.
("Midland") (collectively. "Defendants").
ECF No. 27. Alston moves to alter or amend this
Court's Order regarding her claim under 15 U.S.C. §
1681 i(a) (Count V). ECF No. 67. and Trans Union moves for
summary judgment regarding Alston's claim under 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681e(a) (Count III), ECF No. 71-1. No hearing is
necessary to resolve these motions. See Loc. R.
105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
Alston's Motion to Alter or Amend is denied, and Trans
Union's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.
complaint stems from an initial dispute with BB&T whereby
Alston, on May 31, 2014. requested a payoff statement from
BB&T for the mortgage refinance loan on her primary
residence (the ""Note"). ECF No. 27
¶¶ 8-9. BB&T acquired the loan in June 2013
from Virginia Heritage Bank. ECF No. 27 ¶ 10. On June 4.
2014. BB&T sent Alston a payoff statement, a notice of
transfer of servicing, and a copy of the Note. Id.
¶ 12. According to Alston, the Note sent in that
correspondence "was not certified as a true and accurate
copy." Id. ¶ 13. Following additional
rounds of correspondence. Alston staled that BB&T failed
to verify that it was the holder of the Note and. therefore,
should have ceased assessing interest on her loan after June
2014. Alston demanded that BB&T apply her mortgage
payments submitted from June 2014 through December 2014 to
her principal balance only. Id. ¶ 22. On
January 4. 2015. BB&T ultimately provided Alston with a
payoff statement which, contrary to Alston's demand,
directed a portion of her monthly payments to the interest
due on the Note. Id. ¶ 23.
then sent a dispute letter to three consumer reporting
agencies ("CRAs"). Equifax. Experian. and Trans
Union, in which she stated that the balance on her mortgage
account was incorrect. According to Alston, rather than a
balance of $131, 809. her report should have shown a balance
of $ 29.463.40 to reflect application of her June 2014
through December 2014 mortgage payments to her principal
balance only. Id. ¶ 24. Alston asked that the
CRAs "investigate whether [Alston] attempted to pay the
debt in full and whether BB&T provided the necessary
documentation" for her to complete the payoff.
Id. Alston alleges that "[u]pon information and
belief, " Experian and Trans Union forwarded notice of
her dispute to BB&T, but Equifax did not. Id.
¶¶ 26. 31. Alston alleges that BB&T. upon
receiving notice of her dispute from Experian and Trans
Union, did not conduct an independent investigation of her
dispute. Instead. BB&T only verified that the information
reported to the CRAs was consistent with the information that
BB&T had previously reported and did not notate that
Alston's account was in dispute. Id.
¶¶ 32-33. On or about January 15. 2015. Experian
responded to Alston with the results of its investigation
into her dispute but did not provide her with a copy of her
full credit tile. Id. ¶ 27. Experian did not
change her account as a result of the dispute, and Alston
alleges that Experian "relied on BB&T's
conclusions and parroted the results of BB&T's
purported investigation" instead of independently
investigating the dispute. Id.
January 9, 2015. Trans Union provided Alston with the result
of its investigation of her dispute, and. like Experian.
continued to report Alston's mortgage balance as $131,
809. Id. ¶ 29. Alston alleges that Trans Union,
like Experian. did not independently investigate her dispute
but instead relied on BB&T's purportedly inadequate
investigation. Id. Trans Union provided Alston with
a copy of her credit file, which revealed that Midland, a
debt collection and information management company,
id. ¶ 4. had obtained a copy of her consumer
report from Trans Union on August 22. 2014. Id.
¶ 30. Alston alleges that she contacted Midland and
spoke with an employee who "acknowledge[d] that Midland
did not have a reason to obtain her report."
Id. Alston contends that Midland obtain her report
as part of its scheme to pull individuals' consumer
reports in order to identify potential creditors to solicit
and offer its debt collection services. Id.
According to Alston. Trans Union is aware that Midland
improperly pulls consumer reports for these purposes and yet
has not established any procedures to verity that Midland is
obtaining credit reports for permissible purposes.
Id. Finally, on November 4. 2015. Alston sent
another set of dispute letters to the CRAs. indicating that
the balance of her mortgage account was still inaccurate and
should be reported as $1 21.643.91. Id.
initiated this action in State Court on September 8, 2015
alleging various claims against BB&T, Equifax. Experian.
and Trans Union. ECF No. 2. Trans Union removed the case to
this Court on October 13. 2015. ECF No. 1. On August 26.
2016. following tiling of Alston's Amended Complaint, ECF
No. 27. this Court ruled on a number of motions, including.
BB&T's Motion to Dismiss Alston's Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 32. and Trans Union's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings. ECF No. 44. See ECF No.
50. In resolving the motions, the Court:
i. Dismissed in part Alston's 15 U.S.C. § 1681
s-2(b) claim against BB&T (Count I):
ii. Denied Trans Union's Motion tor Judgment on the
Pleadings regarding Alston's § 1681e(a) Claim
Against Trans Union (Count III):
iii. Dismissed Alston's § 1681i(a)(6)(B)(ii) claim
against Experian (Count IV):
iv. Dismissed in part Alston's § 1861 i(a) Claim
Against Experian and Trans Union (Count V): and
v. Dismissed Alston's MCDCA and MCPA claims against
BB&T (Counts VI and VII).
Following this Order, on October 11. 2016. the Court issued a
Scheduling Order, setting a deadline to serve initial
disclosures on or before October 25, 2016. complete discovery
by February 13, 2017. and submit summary judgment motions by
February 11. 2017. ECF No. 62. Alston filed her Motion to
Alter or Amend on October 21. 2016. ECF No. 67. and ...