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Rivera v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, D. Columbia

October 22, 2015

ANTHONY RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A., Defendant

          Anthony Rivera, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC USA.

         For Jpmorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Defendant: Michael Bertrand Roberts, REED SMITH LLP, Washington, DC USA.

         MEMORANDUM OPINION

         ROYCE C. LAMBERTH, United States District Judge.

         In this case, plaintiff, Anthony Rivera, brings an action pro se against JPMorgan Chase Bank (" Chase" ) for damages and injunctive relief, alleging willful failure to reasonably reinvestigate in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a), negligent failure to reasonably reinvestigate in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b), and defamation under the common law. Plaintiff filed this complaint as a class action, which the defendant has challenged due to the plaintiff's pro se status. This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion to strike class action allegations and defendant's motion to dismiss.

         For the following reasons and after consideration of the parties' briefing and relevant legal standards, in a separate order to issue this date, the defendant's motion to dismiss will be GRANTED, and the defendant's motion to strike class action allegations will be DENIED as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is a natural person who resides in the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶ 1. Defendant Chase is a national banking association that provides financial services, including mortgage-related services, to individual consumers and financial entities Id. ¶ 2. Chase furnishes information to credit reporting agencies (" CRAs" ) regarding its mortgagors. Id.

         In August 2001, the plaintiff acquired a mortgage loan (the " Loan" ) from Washington Mutual Bank, F.A. (" Washington Mutual" ), which began servicing the Loan in February 2002. Id. ¶ ¶ 12-13. Plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January 2003, and his loan was discharged accordingly. Id. ¶ ¶ 14, 16. Washington Mutual reported to CRAs that the Loan was discharged with a zero balance. Id. ¶ ¶ 15, 17.

         Chase supposedly acquired the servicing rights to the Loan in September 2009. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff claims that in March 2013 he discovered that Chase had been erroneously reporting that plaintiff owed on his discharged loan. Id. ¶ 19. He argues that these erroneous reports by Chase adversely affected his credit. Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff also alleges that he reported this information to Equifax, a CRA, which then notified Chase of the dispute. Id. ¶ ¶ 21-22; Pl.'s Opp. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss ¶ 5. At this time, Chase purportedly " responded by instructing Equifax to continue reporting the account as being currently due and owing." Compl. ¶ 22.

         As a result of this dispute, the plaintiff filed a complaint against Chase in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, alleging violation of two provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (" FCRA" ) and common law defamation. Compl. ¶ ¶ 31-41. Chase timely removed the action to this Court.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), courts should dismiss complaints that do not allege sufficient facts, accepted as true, to " state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A complaint is considered " plausible on its face" if it " pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 662. Additionally, complaints must include " more than labels and conclusions" and cannot merely consist of " a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). The facts alleged " must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id.

         A plaintiff proceeding pro se is held to a " less stringent" standard than a lawyer, and the court must construe his claims liberally. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007). A pro se plaintiff is not, however, exempt from the Rule 12(b)(6) requirements. See Atherton v. D.C. Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681-82, 386 U.S.App.D.C. 144 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (" But even a pro se complainant must plead 'factual matter' that permits the court to infer 'more than the mere possibility of misconduct.'" (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679)).

         III. ...


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