United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Michael A. Bondi, Plaintiff,
Great Southern Bank, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., and Evans & Green LLP, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant Great Southern
Bank's Motion to Dismiss. For the following reasons, the
Motion is denied.
Great Southern Bank (“GSB”) financed Plaintiff
Michael Bondi's purchase of his home. When Bondi
defaulted on the mortgage, he and GSB agreed that Bondi would
pay GSB a quarter of the outstanding debt to fully settle the
account. Bondi made the payments to GSB's attorneys, who
are also Defendants here. In August 2015, Bondi received a
letter from the attorneys that the debt had been paid off.
(Am. Compl. (Docket No. 19) Ex. 2.)
contacted credit agencies in January 2016 to ask why they
were still reporting that he had an outstanding balance with
GSB. (Id. ¶ 38.) The credit agencies in turn
contacted GSB, which reported back to the agencies that Bondi
had a balance of more than $54, 000 and that he had not made
a payment since January 1, 2012. (Id. ¶ 42.)
Bondi alleges that this information was “false,
misleading and inaccurate, ” and that GSB did not
conduct a reasonable investigation into the dispute.
(Id. ¶¶ 42, 48.) According to Bondi, there
is evidence that GSB knew that the information it provided to
the credit agencies was inaccurate at the time it provided
that information. (Id. ¶ 49.) GSB did not
correct the information it provided to the credit agencies
until May 2016. (Id. ¶ 53.)
alleges that GSB violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(“FCRA”) in failing to reasonably investigate his
dispute with the credit agencies and failing to update or
remove the inaccurate information from Bondi's credit
report. He claims that GSB's violations of the FCRA
caused damage to his credit rating and restricted his access
to banking services, and caused him “great frustration,
humiliation, out-of-pocket losses, and mental anguish.”
(Id. ¶¶ 53-54.) Because it took GSB five
months to correct Bondi's credit report, he was unable to
refinance his mortgage to remove his in-laws as co-signors.
(Id. ¶ 55.) Bondi seeks both actual damages and
statutory damages, and attorney's fees.
seeks a dismissal of Bondi's claim, asserting that
because Bondi did not make payments directly to GSB as the
settlement agreement ostensibly required, GSB had no record
of those payments and thus did not violate the FCRA in
communicating Bondi's failure to pay to the
evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court
assumes the facts in the Complaint to be true and construes
all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most
favorable to Bondi. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185,
187 (8th Cir. 1986). However, the Court need not accept as
true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist.
of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999),
or legal conclusions that Bondi draws from the facts pled.
Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007). Although a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Id. at 555. “Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, ” will not pass muster under
Twombly. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In
sum, this standard “calls for enough fact[s] to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of
[the claim].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
FCRA provides a private cause of action against a furnisher
of information to credit-reporting agencies only if the
furnisher has notice that the data is inaccurate and fails to
undertake a reasonable investigation after receiving the
notice. According to GSB, Bondi's allegations fail to
state a claim under the FCRA for a multitude of reasons.
GSB argues that only a factual inaccuracy is actionable under
the FCRA. According to GSB, Bondi failed to allege how
GSB's statement to the credit agencies was inaccurate:
was it inaccurate because Bondi paid the debt in full or
because he settled the debt in full? GSB argues that whether
Bondi settled the debt is a legal question that cannot be the
subject of a claim under the FCRA, and thus that Bondi's
failure to specifically plead the exact inaccuracy is fatal
to his claims.
this hair-splitting is unwarranted here. There is no dispute
that Bondi fully complied with the monetary terms of the
settlement agreement, and indeed GSB's attorneys told
Bondi that he had satisfied the debt in full. For GSB to
argue that Bondi's alleged failure to comply with the
technical terms of the settlement agreement somehow means