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Opay v. Experian Information Solutions

June 15, 2004

TERRY OPAY ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, APPELLANT,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., RESPONDENT.



Hennepin County District Court File No. MC 03008745.

Considered and decided by Schumacher , Presiding Judge; Lansing , Judge; and Stoneburner , Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

The Minn. Stat. § 13C.01(1) (2002), price cap for consumer credit reports requested and received by mail does not apply to consumer credit reports requested and received via the Internet.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stoneburner, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

In this consumer fraud action, appellant claims that respondent violated Minn. Stat. § 13C.01, subd. 1(a) (2002), by charging more than $3.00 for consumer credit reports requested and received via the Internet. The district court dismissed appellant's claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. We affirm.

FACTS

Appellant purchased a copy of his consumer credit report from respondent via the Internet. Respondent charged appellant $9.00 for the report. Appellant initiated this consumer fraud action under Minn. Stat. § 325F.69 (2002), on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, alleging that respondent violated the price limitation in Minn. Stat. § 13C.01, subd. 1(a), for consumer credit reports requested and received by mail. The district court granted respondent's motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted, holding that the statute does not apply to consumer credit reports requested and received via the Internet. This appeal followed.

ISSUE

Did the district court err by dismissing appellant's class action alleging consumer fraud on the basis that the price cap of Minn. Stat. § 13C.01, subd. 1(a) (2002) does not apply to consumer credit reports purchased via the Internet?

ANALYSIS

In reviewing cases that were dismissed for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted, the only question before the appellate court is whether the complaint sets forth a legally sufficient basis for relief. Barton v. Moore, 558 N.W.2d 746, 749 (Minn. 1997).

Statutory construction is a question of law, which this court reviews de novo. Brookfield Trade Ctr., Inc. v. County of Ramsey, 584 N.W.2d 390, 393 (Minn. 1998). Appellate courts "must give a plain reading to any statute it construes, and when the language of the statute is clear, the court must not engage in any further construction." U.S. Specialty Ins. Co. v. James Courtney Law Office, 662 N.W.2d 907, 910 (Minn. 2003) (citations omitted). Plain meaning presumes the ordinary usage of words that are not technically used or statutorily defined, relies on accepted punctuation and syntax, and draws from the full-act context of the statutory provision. Am. Tower, L.P. v. City of Grant, 636 N.W.2d 309, 312 (Minn. 2001) (words and phrases carry plain and ordinary meaning). "Although plain meaning is the governing principle in applying all statutory language, Minnesota courts will ...


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