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Finley v. Transunion

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 18, 2019

LATONYA RENA FINLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANSUNION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NOS. 83, 84, 85

          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff LaTonya R. Finley (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se, alleged that Defendants Trans Union, LLC (“Trans Union”), Equifax Information Services LLC (“Equifax”), Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), Plaza Services, LLC (“Plaza”), and Southwest Credit Systems, L.P. (“Southwest”) violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and related state laws. See Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), Dkt. No. 82.

         All five Defendants moved to dismiss the SAC. See Dkt. Nos. 83, 84, 85. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's opposition, Dkt. No. 87, Defendants' replies, Dkt. Nos. 86, 88, 89, 90, and Plaintiff's supplemental memorandum, Dkt. No. 91. The Court held a hearing on the motions, see Dkt. No. 98, at which it explained that Plaintiff's amended complaint failed to plead facts sufficient to support her claims but said that it would allow Plaintiff one more opportunity to amend her complaint. Therefore, the Court GRANTS the motions to dismiss with leave to amend.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. First Motions to Dismiss

         On February 26, 2019, the Court granted Defendants' motions to dismiss, finding that Plaintiff had failed to meet the pleading standard. See Dkt. No. 80. The Court granted leave to amend and reminded Plaintiff that “she must provide specific facts to support each of her causes of action” and should “clearly distinguish between Defendants in her complaint.” Id. at 10. For example, the Court advised Plaintiff that “she should provide specific facts about what the alleged debt is, how the information in her credit file is inaccurate, how she disputed the alleged debt with Defendant [Credit Report Agencies], and whether Defendant [Credit Reporting Agencies] provided notice of those disputes to Plaza and Southwest.” Id. at 5.

         B. Allegations in the Second Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff's second amended complaint contains similarly conclusory allegations as her dismissed complaint. Compare SAC with Dkt. No. 51. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “furnished inaccurate information within plaintiff's credit file for the purpose of discrediting plaintiff's ability to pay and creating [an] inescapable economic trap.” SAC ¶ 4. She alleges that Southwest and Plaza “took an aggressive approach to collect a debt in which each of these defendants knew they were not entitled to collect” and that Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union “without notice or investigation, placed the inaccurate information within plaintiff's credit file, ” thereby “discrediting plaintiff's[] credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, and quality of life.” Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “failed to maintain Plaintiff's credit account with maximum accuracy, ” id. ¶ 6, causing her financial, mental, and emotional harm, id. ¶ 7.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]” A defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). “Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate only where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory.” Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible when a plaintiff pleads “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         In reviewing the plausibility of a complaint, courts “accept factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). Nonetheless, Courts do not “accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.” In re Gilead Scis. Sec. Litig., 536 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir. 2008).

         “Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e). For that reason, “a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (quotations marks and citations omitted). If dismissal is still appropriate, a court “should grant leave to amend even if no request to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Where leave to amend is appropriate, “before dismissing a pro se complaint the district court must provide the litigant with notice of the deficiencies in his complaint in order to ensure that the litigant uses the opportunity to amend effectively.” Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th Cir. 1992).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Despite the direction provided by the Court in the prior order granting Defendants' motions to dismiss, Plaintiff has not added factual allegations to her complaint sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. However, based on the discussion at the hearing and Plaintiff's proffered evidence, the Court will allow Plaintiff one more ...


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