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Anderson v. Trans Union, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia

January 8, 2018

KALILAH ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANS UNION, LLC, et al. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Goldberg, J.

         Plaintiff Khalilah Anderson brings the current action against Defendants Trans Union, LLC (“Trans Union”), Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), Equifax Information Services, LLC (“Equifax”), and Santander Bank, N.A. (“Santander”) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, et seq. Defendant Equifax has moved to dismiss the case for lack of venue or, alternatively, to transfer the case to the Northern District of Georgia. Neither Plaintiff nor any other Defendant has filed an opposition to this Motion. For the reasons set forth below, I will transfer the case the Northern District of Georgia.

         I. FACTS AS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT

         The Complaint alleges the following facts:

         Defendants Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax (the “credit reporting agencies”) have been reporting “derogatory and inaccurate statements and information” relating to Plaintiff and Plaintiff's credit history to third parties from at least August 2015 through the present. This inaccurate information includes Plaintiff's account with Santander and consists of accounts and/or trade lines that do not belong to Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-12.) Plaintiff claims to have disputed the inaccurate information with the credit reporting agencies both orally and in written communications. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Notwithstanding Plaintiff's efforts, however, the credit reporting agencies have, without proper investigation, sent Plaintiff correspondence indicating their intent to continue publishing the inaccurate information. (Id. ¶ 16-17.)

         Defendant Santander has also failed to conduct timely and reasonable investigations of Plaintiff's disputes after being contacted by the relevant credit reporting agencies. (Id. ¶ 18.) Around 2015, Santander began calling Plaintiff on his cellular telephone, using an automated dialing system and artificial voice technology, to “harass” Plaintiff and coerce payment. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21.) Plaintiff wrote a cease and desist letter, on November 19, 2016, requesting that Santander refrain from contacting her on her cell phone, but Santander continued to call using the automated dialing system. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23.)

         Plaintiff initiated the current action on April 21, 2017, alleging violations of the FCRA and violations of the TCPA. On October 13, 2017, Defendant Equifax filed a Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue or, alternatively, for Transfer to the Northern District of Georgia. Neither Plaintiff[1] nor any other Defendant has opposed the Motion.

         II. MOTION TO DISMISS FOR IMPROPER VENUE UNDER F.R.C.P. 12(b)(3)

         A. Standard of Review

         Under 12(b)(3), a court must grant a motion to dismiss if venue is improper. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(3). When a plaintiff files a suit in an improper forum, “district courts are required either to dismiss or transfer to a proper forum.” Lafferty v. St. Riel, 495 F.3d 72, 77 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing Goldlawr, Inc. v. Heiman, 369 U.S. 463, 465-66); 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). Motions to dismiss for improper venue “generally require the court to accept as true the allegations of the pleadings.” Heft v. AAI Corp., 355 F.Supp.2d 757, 762 (M.D. Pa. 2005) (citing Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002)). “The parties may submit affidavits in support of their positions, and may stipulate as to certain facts, but the plaintiff is entitled to rely on the allegations of the complaint absent evidentiary challenge.” Heft, 335 F.Supp.2d at 762 (citing Carteret Sav. Bank, F.A. v. Shushan, 954 F.2d 141, 142 n.1 (3d Cir. 1992); Myers v. Am. Dental Ass'n, 695 F.2d 716, 724 (3d Cir. 1982)). “Dismissal is considered to be a harsh remedy . . . and transfer of venue to another district court in which the action could originally have been brought, is the preferred remedy.” Spiniello Cos. v. Moynier, No. 13-5145, 2014 WL 7205349, at *5 (D.N.J. Dec. 17, 2014) (quoting NCR Credit Corp. v. Ye Seekers Horizon, Inc., 17 F.Supp.2d 317, 319 (D.N.J. 1998)).

         B. Discussion

         “The test for determining venue is not the defendant's ‘contacts' with a particular district, but rather the location of those ‘events or omissions giving rise to the claim . . . .'” Cottman Transmission Sys., Inc. v. Martino, 36 F.3d 291, 294 (3d Cir. 1994). According to 28 U.S.C. 1391(a), venue is proper only in:

(1) a judicial district in which any defendant resides, if all defendants are residents of the State in which the district is located;
(2) a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property that is the subject of the action is situated; or
(3) if there is no district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in this section, any judicial district in which any defendant is subject to the court's personal ...

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