United States District Court, D. Delaware
ERRICK M. WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
EQUIFAX, INC., et al., Defendants.
GREGORY M. SLEET, District Judge.
The pro se plaintiff Errick M. Wright ("Wright") filed this action on August 18, 2009. (D.I. 2.) The case proceeds on the second amended complaint filed on June 27, 2012, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. ("FCRA"), the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. ("FDCPA"), and fraudulent misrepresenttation under Delaware law. (D.I. 109.) Before the court is a motion for summary judgment (D.I. 125) filed by the defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian") and Wright's opposition thereto. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the motion for summary judgment.
II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The court discusses the claims to the extent they are raised against Experian. Wright states that he is a consumer under the FCRA (D.I. 109, ¶ 29, 31) and that Experian is a business organization responsible for accurately reporting consumer information under the FCRA ( id. at ¶ 34).
Wright alleges that on or about August 1, 2009, Experian and other named defendants, including Equifax Information Services, LLC ("Equifax"), were wrongfully furnished inaccurate consumer information by Arrow Financial Services, L.L.C. ("Arrow") known to be false or misleading and that Arrow failed to disclose notice of collection/validation of debt. ( Id. at ¶¶ 14, 36, 39) Wright alleges that Experian breached its duty when it failed to follow reasonable procedures to verify the accuracy of the information wrongfully furnished to it by RJM Acquisitions, LLC ("RJM"), Arrow, and the Delaware Federal Credit Union ("DFCU") and to insure one hundred percent accuracy of his consumer file. ( Id. at ¶¶ 15-16, 43.) Wright alleges that this information consisted of"l 1 fraudulent accounts" furnished by RJM. ( Id. at ¶ 16.) The RJM accounts were removed after Wright submitted a dispute to RJM. ( Id. )
Wright alleges that on or about August 1, 2009, Experian knowingly, willfully, and negligently furnished or reported inaccurate consumer information to sellers or receivers of consumer information contained in his consumer file in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). ( Id. at ¶ 40.) Wright alleges that Experian negligently reported numerous accounts in default and, as a result, he disputed the information furnished by RJM, Arrow, and the DFCU to Experian. ( Id. at ¶¶ 41-42.) Wright alleges that even though the disputed information was deleted from his consumer file, Experian's negligent actions caused his credit score to be adversely impacted and restricted his ability to obtain credit, suitable housing, and employment. Wright seeks nominal, compensatory, and statutory damages. ( Id. at ¶ 43.)
The court entered a scheduling order on February 15, 2013 that provided a discovery deadline of August 15, 2013 and a dispositive motion deadline of October 15, 2013. ( See D.I. 120.) Experian served discovery and request for admissions upon Wright on June 14, 2013 and July 10, 2013. ( See D.I. 122, 123, 124.) Wright did not respond or file objections to the discovery requests. The request for admissions asked Wright to admit that: (1) Experian followed reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of the information Experian reported with respect to Wright; (2) Experian conducted reasonable reinvestigations of each and every one of Wright's disputes that is relevant to this lawsuit; (3) at all times relevant to this lawsuit, the information appearing on Wright's credit report was accurate; (4) Experian never acted negligently, willfully or recklessly towards Wright; and (5) Wright was not damaged as a result of any act or omission on the part of Experian. (D.I. 124.)
On October 15, 2013, Experian filed the pending motion for summary judgment. (D.I. 125.) On November 11, 2013, Wright filed a motion for an extension oftime to respond to discovery and to file a response to the motion for summary judgment. (D.I. 128.) Experian opposed the motion. (D.I. 129.) In early December 2013 and continuing through July 2014, Wright belatedly responded to Experian's discovery requests and served discovery requests upon Experian and Equifax in derogation of the discovery deadline. ( See D.I. 130, 133, 134, 135, 136, 139, 140, 141, 142, 146, 147, 148, 154, 156.) In the meantime, Experian moved to strike Wright's delayed responses to the discovery requests. (D.I. 143.) On September 18, 2014, the court denied both motions: Experian's motion to strike and Wright's motion to extend time to respond to discovery. (D.I. 160.) Wright, however, was given time to respond to Experian's motion for summary judgment and he did so on October 20, 2014. (D.I. 161.) At no time did the court reopen discovery.
III. LEGAL STANDARD
The court shall grant summary judgment only if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.10 (1986). When a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may consider those facts undisputed for the purpose of the summary judgment motion or grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials (including the facts considered undisputed) show that the movant is entitled to it. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). When determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Wishkin v. Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007). If the moving party has demonstrated an absence of material fact, the nonmoving party then "must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). However, a party opposing summary judgment "must present more than just bare assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions' to show the existence of a genuine issue." Podobnik v. United States Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)). lf the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.
Experian moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Wright cannot meet his burden to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists and has admitted that Experian is not liable. Wright opposes the motion on the grounds that Experian neglected its duty to maintain accurate consumer information in his consumer files.