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Dorsey v. Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 14, 2017

ALAN DORSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
LIBERTY MUTUAL AUTO INSURANCE Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          INDIRA TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the court is Defendant Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment [#15]. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is ALLOWED.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Alan Dorsey brings this action against Defendant Liberty Mutual Auto Insurance [hereinafter “Liberty Mutual”]. Civil Compl. Suit [#1] 1 [“Compl.”]. He alleges that Liberty Mutual was negligent and violated the Fair Credit Billing Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., and the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., in its efforts to collect money it believed Dorsey owed on a car insurance policy. Compl. 10-12. Liberty Mutual seeks dismissal for failure to state a claim that those federal statutes are applicable, and for lack of subject matter jurisdiction over Dorsey's negligence claim. Mot. Dismiss, Summ. J. 2 [#15].

         II. Standard of Review

         A complaint in federal court must provide facts showing that the court has jurisdiction and that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. If the facts, taken as true, do not allow a court to plausibly infer that the plaintiff is entitled to relief, the court must allow a defendant's motion to dismiss. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         III. Analysis

         A. Fair Credit Billing Act

         The Fair Credit Billing Act protects consumers from certain credit billing practices. 15 U.S.C. § 1601. “Credit” means that an entity allowed a consumer to take on a debt, and then defer payment for that debt, rather than having that debt be due immediately. 15 U.S.C. § 1602(f) (“The term ‘credit' means the right granted by a creditor to a debtor to defer payment of debt or to incur debt and defer its payment.”). Because of this, a person seeking to bring a complaint under the Fair Credit Billing Act must show the court that the defendant allowed him or her to take on a debt and defer payment in a way that made payments not immediately due. Am. Express Co. v. Koerner, 452 U.S. 233, 240-241 (1981). If the plaintiff cannot show the court that he or she was extended credit by the defendant, the court must dismiss a complaint brought under the FCBA.

         Here, Dorsey has not shown that he was extended “credit” by Liberty Mutual. Instead, Dorsey states he was sent regular bills by Liberty Mutual for car insurance he did not purchase. As no “credit” was extended, Dorsey's claim under the Fair Credit Billing Act must be DISMISSED.

         B. Fair Credit Reporting Act

         The Fair Credit Reporting Act seeks to make sure that credit reporting is fair and accurate. Chiang v. Verizon New England, Inc., 595 F.3d 26, 34 (1st Cir. 2010). To do this, the Fair Credit Reporting Act places obligations on three types of people/entities: first, the credit reporting agencies themselves; second, people or entities that use credit reports; and third, entities or people that provide information to credit reporting agencies, which are known as “furnishers” of information. Chiang v. MBNA, 634 F.Supp.2d 164, 167 (D. Mass. 2009).

         Dorsey's complaint is most fairly read as stating that Liberty Mutual violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by violating the set of rules governing “furnishers” of information. He states that Liberty Mutual “turned all of Mr. Dorsey's personal information and fraudulent billing over to the Credit Collection Services . . . and also sent his name and personal information to credit collection agencies and credit scoring bureaus.” Compl. [#1] 6.

         The Fair Credit Reporting Act only allows individuals to sue a “furnisher” of information, however, when the “furnisher” has been told by a credit scoring bureau that a complaint has been made, and when the “furnisher” fails to act properly to investigate that complaint reported by the credit scoring bureau. See Chiang v. Verizon New England Inc., 595 F.3d 26, 35-36 (1st Cir. 2010). Here, Dorsey does not state (i) that a credit scoring agency notified Liberty Mutual of any complaint, or (ii) that Liberty ...


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