The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wexler, District Judge.
Plaintiff, James Edge ("Plaintiff" or "Edge") commenced this
action pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (the "FCRA"), the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. § 408 and the Consumer Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,
18 U.S.C. § 1030. Named as defendant is Professional Claims Bureau, Inc.
("Professional"), a company engaged in the business of debt
collection. The complaint alleges, essentially, that Professional
obtained Plaintiff's credit report for an improper purpose and
that this action violated the above-referenced statutes.
Presently before the court is defendant's motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
The undisputed facts surrounding plaintiff's complaint are
stated simply. James Edge is employed as a process server. On May
23, 1997, Edge appeared at Professional's office for the purpose
of serving a summons in connection with a civil lawsuit naming
Professional as a defendant. On that same date, Professional
accessed a credit reporting service, known as "Experian," and
obtained Edge's address. Edge contends that the credit search was
conducted in "retaliation" for Edge's attempt to serve
Professional and therefore was for a purpose deemed improper by
Additional facts, supplied by way of Professional's affidavit
in support of its motion for summary judgment, and uncontroverted
by Plaintiff, indicate that prior to the time that Edge's credit
report was obtained, Professional had been referred a debt for
collection by North Shore Hospital. Edge was the guarantor of
that debt. Professional attempted to collect on the hospital debt
in 1996 by sending a letter that was returned as undeliverable.
Because of the referral of the hospital debt for collection,
Professional was, on May 23, 1997, in possession of Edge's social
security number. Professional used that number to conduct the May
1997 search, known in the credit industry as a "social search,"
to obtain Edge's address. The credit reporting agency providing
the data requested indicated to Professional that the search
would not be disclosed as a credit inquiry to those requesting
Plaintiff's credit history. This is confirmed by Professional's
submission of a copy of Plaintiff's credit report, produced by
Plaintiff in discovery in this matter. That report notes
Professional's May 1997 inquiry and confirms that this inquiry,
along with several others noted on the report, falls into a class
of inquiries that are not reported to those asking for a review
of Plaintiff's credit history.
Despite obtaining Edge's address in 1997, Professional made no
attempt to collect the hospital debt. According to Professional,
the decision not to pursue the debt was based upon Edge's
occupation as a process server for an attorney specializing in
A. Summary Judgment Standards
Professional has moved for summary judgment dismissing the
complaint. Summary judgment is appropriate only if there are "no
genuine issue as to any material fact" and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c). On
motions for summary judgment the court will not try issues of
fact, but will determine only if there are issues to be tried.
See Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd. Of Fire ...