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Seay v. Trans Union, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division

September 30, 2019

TAMIKA SEAY, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Tamika Seay, a consumer, filed this lawsuit seeking redress of alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. Now before the Court are Defendants Trans Union, LLC (“Trans Union”) and Western-Shamrock Corporation's (“Shamrock”) Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 16, 18), which the Court converted to motions for summary judgment (Doc. 31). After reviewing the pleadings, briefs, and other evidentiary materials presented, the Court concludes that there is no genuine dispute of the material facts and finds that Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


         Plaintiff alleges that Shamrock is inaccurately reporting a tradeline (“Errant Tradeline”) on her Trans Union credit disclosure. (Doc. 1, ¶ 7).[1] According to Plaintiff, her Trans Union credit report erroneously reflects a scheduled monthly payment to Shamrock of $42.00, even though the account was paid and closed with no continuing obligation to make monthly payments. (Id. at ¶¶ 8, 10).

         Plaintiff contends that she first learned of the Errant Tradeline on June 11, 2018, when she received a copy of her credit disclosures from Trans Union. (Id. at ¶ 11). Plaintiff disputed the Errant Tradeline to Trans Union by letter dated September 26, 2018. (Id. at ¶ 12). In her letter, Plaintiff noted that the account in dispute was closed and requested that Trans Union revise her credit report to reflect a $0.00 monthly payment. (Id. at ¶ 13). Plaintiff alleges that Trans Union forwarded her consumer dispute to Shamrock. (Id. at ¶ 14). On October 4, 2018, Plaintiff received the results of Trans Union's investigation, which she contends showed that Trans Union and Shamrock refused to conduct a proper investigation of Plaintiff's dispute and to report the scheduled monthly payment as $0.00 on the Errant Tradeline. (Id. at ¶¶ 15, 19-20, 25-26, 59, 66).

         As a result of Defendants' alleged negligent and/or willful failure to comply with the FCRA's requirements regarding the investigation of disputed accounts, Plaintiff claims that she has suffered both emotional damage and damage to her credit. (Id. at ¶ 17). She further states that she has experienced undue stress and anxiety and that she has been unable to improve her financial situation or to obtain more favorable credit terms because of Defendants' failure to correct the errors in her credit file. (Id.).

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint on December 19, 2018. In lieu of filing an answer, Trans Union filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 16). Attached to Trans Union's Motion was the Declaration of Don Wagner, a Trans Union employee, who attested to how the Shamrock tradeline was reporting at the time Plaintiff's claim arose. (Doc. 16-3). Shamrock also relied on the contents of this Declaration, in part, in support of its Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 18). After reviewing the motions and the Wagner Declaration, the Court found it appropriate to convert the pending motions to dismiss to motions for summary judgment. (Doc. 31). The Court allowed 14 days for the parties to submit any additional pertinent information. (Id. at p. 3). Defendants jointly submitted supplemental authority in support of their motions. (Doc. 32). Plaintiff provided no further information.


         A court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support that assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         The party seeking summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of a material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (internal quotation omitted). If the movant meets this burden, the burden shifts to the party opposing summary judgment to go beyond the pleadings and to present specific evidence showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact, or that the movant is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. at 324-26. “If the record presents factual issues, the court must not decide them; it must deny the motion and proceed to trial.” Herzog v. Castle Rock Entm't, 193 F.3d 1241, 1246 (11th Cir. 1999). But, when “the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, ” summary judgment for the moving party is proper.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff seeks damages for injuries she purportedly sustained as a result of Trans Union and Shamrock's alleged failure to investigate and to correct inaccuracies in her credit report in violation of the FCRA. More specifically, Plaintiff contends that despite being informed that her credit report should reflect a $0.00 monthly payment, Defendants continue to report a positive scheduled monthly payment for an account that has been paid off and closed. In order to recover under the FCRA, Plaintiff first must demonstrate that there was an inaccuracy in her credit report. Because Plaintiff cannot satisfy this essential component, her claims against each Defendant fail as a matter of law.

         A. Trans Union, LLC

         Trans Union moves the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's claims because Plaintiff has failed to establish that her Shamrock account was reporting inaccurately on her credit report. Trans Union argues that in the ...

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