United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Vivian Pigg defaulted on her lease agreement with her former
landlord. [Filing No. 34 at 2.] The debt was
transferred to Defendant Fair Collections & Outsourcing
of New England (“Fair Collections”), and
Fair Collections attempted to collect the debt from Ms. Pigg.
[Filing No. 34 at 2.] Ms. Pigg claims that without a
permissible purpose, Fair Collections procured her credit
report. [Filing No. 34 at 2.] In addition, Ms. Pigg
asserts that after she filed for bankruptcy protection, Fair
Collections contacted Ms. Pigg on numerous occasions to
collect the debt. [Filing No. 34 at 4.] She
initiated this litigation alleging that Fair Collections
violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(“FCRA”) and the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”). [Filing No.
1; Filing No. 34.] Fair Collections has now
filed a Motion to Dismiss Count I of Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint, [Filing No. 38], and Ms. Pigg
opposes that motion, [Filing No. 46].
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary, the
statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint
“contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active
Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th
Cir. 2011). The Court will not accept legal conclusions or
conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for
relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago,
671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must
plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree
that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v.
Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This
plausibility determination is “a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
following background is set forth pursuant to the applicable
standards, accepting all well-pled factual allegations
against Fair Collections from Ms. Pigg's Amended
Complaint as true. Ms. Pigg had entered into a lease
agreement with her landlord, Ashford Keystone Apartments, and
later incurred a debt as a result of a default on the lease
agreement. [Filing No. 34 at 2.] Fair Collections
attempted to collect an outstanding balance that Ms. Pigg
allegedly owed. [Filing No. 34 at 2.] After Fair
Collections attempted to collect the debt from Ms. Pigg, it
reported the debt to various credit reporting agencies.
[Filing No. 34 at 2.] On June 18, 2015, Ms. Pigg
reviewed her TransUnion report and noticed that Fair
Collections procured her credit report on April 15, 2015.
[Filing No. 34 at 2.] Ms. Pigg claims that Fair
Collections never received permission from Ms. Pigg to obtain
her credit report. [Filing No. 34 at 3.]
Collections' sole challenge in its Motion to Dismiss is
to Ms. Pigg's FCRA claim brought under 15 U.S.C. §
1681b(f). [Filing No. 39 at 1.] It argues that Ms.
Pigg “admits that she defaulted on her rental agreement
with her former landlord” and that “[Fair
Collections] began attempting to collect from her the unpaid
rent on behalf of [her] former landlord.” [Filing
No. 39 at 3.] Fair Collections argues that
“[t]hese admissions demonstrate that [Fair Collections]
obtained [Ms. Pigg's] credit report for the permissible
purpose of ‘collection of an account.'”
[Filing No. 39 at 3.] Fair Collections argues that
Ms. Pigg's claim that the rental agreement is not
“credit” under the law and was not a credit
transaction is “both false and irrelevant for purposes
of analyzing [Fair Collections'] liability under the
FCRA.” [Filing No. 39 at 3.] Fair Collections
claims that the end result is that “unpaid rent
constitutes consumer debt for which [Fair Collections] was
attempting to collect.” [Filing No. 39 at 4.]
response, Ms. Pigg argues that Fair Collections has based its
Motion to Dismiss on a misreading of the statute. [Filing
No. 46 at 6.] She claims that in order for the credit
agency to furnish a consumer report to a person, it
“must be in connection with a credit transaction
involving the consumer, and then, either involving extension
of credit to that consumer or review or collection of an
account of that consumer.” [Filing No. 46 at
6.] Ms. Pigg claims that Fair Collections ignores the
first requirement that the consumer report must be in
connection with a credit transaction and focuses solely on
the language “collection of an account.”
[Filing No. 46 at 6.] Ms. Pigg argues that a lease
agreement is not considered a credit transaction, and that
the case law that Fair Collections relies on “is over
twenty years old and its legal basis has eroded over
time.” [Filing No. 46 at 7.] Lastly, Ms. Pigg
cites to a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case that she
claims demonstrates that a residential lease is not a credit
transaction. [Filing No. 46 at 8-9.]
reply, Fair Collections argues that the focus here is
“whether [Fair Collections] had a permissible purpose
for allegedly requesting a copy of [Ms. Pigg's] credit
report.” [Filing No. 50 at 1.] Fair
Collections claims that “all the ‘permissible
purposes' under the FCRA do not all involve or relate to
the issuance of credit, ” and it mentions in passing
several examples of permissible purposes. [Filing No. 50
at 1-2.] Fair Collections further argues that the case
law that it cited remains good law, and that the case that
Ms. Pigg relies on is factually different from the underlying
litigation. [Filing No. 50 at 2-3.] Fair Collections
claims that “[e]very day [Ms. Pigg] stays in the
apartment without paying she is being extended a form of
credit which will ultimately be collected from her.”
[Filing No. 50 at 3-4.] It argues that Ms.
Pigg's interpretation of the statute is wrong, and that
the portion of ...