United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
SARAH SOLOMON, on behalf of herself and all individuals similarly situated, Plaintiff,
TRANS UNION, LLC, Defendant.
A. Gibney Jr. United States District Judge
Solomon alleges that Trans Union, LLC, inaccurately reported
her credit history in violation of Â§ 1681e(b) of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). She seeks to
represent a class of consumers whose credit reports from
Trans Union inaccurately included debts discharged in
bankruptcy. Trans Union has moved to dismiss Solomon's
complaint for failure to state a claim, arguing that the
complaint improperly relies on a legal conclusion. Although
Solomon's complaint contains a legal conclusion, it
alleges sufficient factual allegations that plausibly give
rise to a claim under Â§ 1681e(b). Accordingly, the Court will
deny Trans Union's motion to dismiss.
FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT
2013, Solomon filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, known as
reorganization. She then incurred five additional debts. In
2017, Solomon converted her Chapter 13 proceeding into a
Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding. In March, 2018, she
received a discharge order from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
the Eastern District of Virginia. Solomon says that the
discharge order included the five debts she incurred after
she filed her Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, but before
converting it to a Chapter 7. She asserts that "[i]t is
black letter Bankruptcy law that the conversion caused . ..
any Bankruptcy discharge [to] include those debts." (Dk.
No. 1, at (¶ 18.)
17, 2018, Solomon applied for a car loan. The lenders
requested and obtained copies of Solomon's credit report
from Trans Union. The report wrongly indicated that the five
post-petition, pre-conversion debts remained outstanding and
did not indicate that those debts had been discharged in
inaccurately reporting Solomon's debts, Trans Union had
the necessary data to ensure the accuracy of its reports.
Trans Union used this available data to correctly update the
information for some of Solomon's other accounts. Trans
Union could have used simple, automated processes to verify
the accuracy of the information it reported.
Union has moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
arguing that Solomon's complaint improperly relies on a
legal conclusion and that the FCRA does not impose a duty on
a credit reporting agency to determine if a consumer's
debt has been discharged in bankruptcy.
survive a motion to dismiss on a claim under § 1681e(b)
of the FCRA, Solomon must plead facts showing (1) that her
consumer report contained inaccurate information, and (2)
that Trans Union did not follow reasonable procedures.
Dalton v. Capital Associated Indus., Inc., 257 F.3d
409, 415 (4th Cir. 2001).
Solomon must show that Trans Union issued a consumer report
that contains "inaccurate information."
Id. Trans Union argues that Solomon has failed to
plausibly plead this element of her claim because her
complaint improperly relies on a legal conclusion.
Trans Union objects to the following allegation in
Solomon's complaint: "[i]t is black letter
Bankruptcy law that the conversion caused ... any Bankruptcy
discharge [to] include" the debts she incurred after she
filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but before converting it to a
Chapter 7. (Dk. No. 1, at ¶ 18.) Even if the Court
disregarded that conclusion, Solomon still alleges that the
discharge order from the Bankruptcy Court included the five
debts incurred post-petition but pre-conversion-making her
Trans Union credit report inaccurate. Solomon's legal
conclusion regarding a technical point of bankruptcy law does
not defeat the adequacy of her factual allegations.
court addressed the pleading requirements regarding the
"inaccurate information" prong in Ridenour v.
Multi-Color Corp., 147 F.Supp.3d 452, 459-60 (E.D. Va.
2015). In that case, the plaintiff adequately pleaded that
the defendant reported "inaccurate information"
because the plaintiff pointed to specific inaccuracies in the
defendant's report. Similarly, Solomon points to specific
inaccuracies in her report-that Trans Union listed her five
post-petition, pre-conversion debts as "owing" or
"past due" and not as discharged in bankruptcy. A
discharged debt or a balance of $0 cannot be
"owing" or "past due." See Harris v.
Nissan-Infiniti LT, No. 2:17-cv-191, 2018 WL 387397, at
*3 (D. Nev. Jan. 11, 2018) (holding that "a plaintiffs
FCRA claim must allege the defendant failed to indicate that
the debt was discharged or reduced to a zero-balance")
(internal quotations omitted). Accordingly, Solomon
adequately alleges that Trans Union reported "inaccurate