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Christopher v. Solomon & Solomon

March 16, 2011

CHRISTOPHER CAMPANELLA, PLAINTIFF PRO SE,
v.
SOLOMON & SOLOMON, P.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Norman A. Mordue, Chief U.S. District Judge:

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff pro se Christopher Campanella filed a complaint alleging that defendant Solomon and Solomon, PC violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2, by failing to inform the national consumer reporting agencies that plaintiff's alleged debt to Niagara Mohawk Power Services was in dispute. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Defendant moves pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for dismissal of the complaint.*fn1

II. COMPLAINT

According to the complaint, on or about April 3, 2009, defendant mailed plaintiff a bill that "noticed the Plaintiff that there was an outstanding balance with Niagara Mohawk Power Services." Plaintiff alleges that he was "unaware of any such agreement or contract with such an entity, and returned the bill to the Defendant, along with a Cease and Desist letter denying obligation of such debt." In the letter, plaintiff notified defendant that the validity "of the purported debt was disputed" and "if the Defendant failed to verify/validate such purported debt within 30 days, that the Defendant would discontinue collections, and abide by the [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act] and the FCRA."

Plaintiff alleges that "[a]fter the 30 day window . . . having not received a response from Defendant, sent a Lawful Notice letter acknowledging that the Plaintiff has failed to receive validation/verification of any purported debt".

According to the complaint, beginning in April 2009, plaintiff "noticed that the Defendant had reported erroneous and inaccurate information in all three of the Plaintiff[']s major credit reports", TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Plaintiff contacted all three bureaus and requested that "[d]efendant be removed for false and inaccurate information." Plaintiff alleges that he was "then contacted by the Bureaus with updated and accurate credit reports, proving that Defendant failed to mark the item 'disputed' in all three reports."

Plaintiff alleges that he "then sent another Lawful Notice to Defendant demanding removal of all erroneous and inaccurate information from all three credit reports, along with a notice of Defendant being in violation of the FCRA." According to the complaint, "[d]efendant has ignored ALL requests from the plaintiff, forcing him to this action requesting the intervention of this honorable court."

The complaint contains two causes of action alleging that defendant violated the FCRA: first, by failing to inform the national credit reporting agencies that the alleged account is in dispute in violation of § 1681s-2(a); and second by willfully failing to comply with its obligations under § 1681s-2(b). As a result, plaintiff alleges he has "a negatively impacted credit score" and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard

Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action. To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "a complaint must plead 'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ruotolo v. City of New York, 514 F.3d 184, 188 (2d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The Court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See ATSI Commc'n, Inc. v. Shaar Fund, Ltd., 493 F.3d 87, 98 (2d Cir. 2007).

A complaint should be especially liberally construed when it is submitted pro se. See Jacobs v. Mostow, 271 Fed.Appx. 85, 87 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Fernandez v. Chertoff, 471 F.3d 45, 51 (2d Cir. 2006)). The submissions of a pro se litigant should be interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they ...


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