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Nguyen v. Ridgewood Savings Bank

United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

May 15, 2015




Plaintiffs Thomas Nguyen (“Mr. Nguyen”) and Tiffany Nguyen (“Ms. Nguyen”), proceeding pro se, commenced the above-captioned actions against Defendants, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“FCRA”), Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5301 et seq. (“CFPA”), particularly the section relating to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, §§ 5481–5620, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, and the New York State Fair Credit Reporting Act. The three Complaints name different Defendants but raise overlapping claims.[1]

Currently before the Court are seven separate motions to dismiss filed by Defendants Ridgewood Savings Bank and Peter Boger, (Ridgewood Mot. to Dismiss, No. 14-CV-1058 Docket Entry (“58DE”) No. 37), Chase Bank USA, N.A. and James Dimon, (Chase Mot. to Dismiss, No. 14-CV-3464 Docket Entry (“64DE”) No. 19), Santander Bank, N.A. and Roman Blanco, (Santander Mot. to Dismiss, No. 14-CV-3989, Docket Entry (“89DE”) No. 46), Citibank, N.A. and Michael Corbat, (Citibank Mot. to Dismiss, 89DE No. 61), Experian Information Solutions, Inc. and Donald Robert, [2] (Experian Mot. to Dismiss, 89DE No. 54), Trans Union LLC, (Trans Union Mot. to Dismiss, 89DE No. 50), and Equifax, Inc., (Equifax Mot. to Dismiss, 89DE No. 58). Defendants move pursuant to Rules 8, 9, and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Also before the Court is Mr. Nguyen’s requests for default judgments against Ridgewood and Boger, (58DE Nos. 32–33), and against Experian and Robert. (See Am. Compl. in No. 14-CV-3989 (“3989 Am. Compl.”) ¶ 17, 89DE No. 25; see also Letter dated Nov. 18, 2014 from Mr. Nguyen seeking default judgments against Experian and Robert, 89DE No. 32.)

For the reasons discussed below, Defendants’ motions to dismiss are granted as to Plaintiffs’ federal claims, and Mr. Nguyen’s motions for default judgments are denied. As Plaintiffs have previously been given the opportunity to amend their complaints in each action, and have failed to correct the deficiencies identified by the Court, the Amended Complaints are dismissed with prejudice as to all of Plaintiffs’ federal claims.

I. Background

a. Procedural background

Plaintiff Mr. Nguyen, proceeding pro se, filed the above-captioned actions challenging various actions of Ridgewood Savings Bank (“Ridgewood”); Peter Boger, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of Ridgewood; Chase Bank USA, N.A. (“Chase”), incorrectly identified as JPMC Chase Bank in the initial Complaint; James Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of JPMorgan Chase & Co., incorrectly identified as Jamie Dimon; Santander Bank, N.A. (“Santander”); Roman Blanco, Chairman and CEO of Santander; Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”), incorrectly identified as Citibank (Citigroup); Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup; Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), incorrectly identified as Experian, Inc.; Donald Robert, Chairman of Experian plc;[3] Trans Union LLC (“Trans Union”); and Equifax, Inc. (“Equifax”). Mr. Nguyen’s daughter, Tiffany Nguyen, is also a Plaintiff in action 14-CV-3989. The three Complaints name different Defendants but raise overlapping claims and frequently contain overlapping allegations. Mr. Nguyen’s submissions often reference all three actions, and the Amended Complaints filed in 14-CV-1058 and 14-CV-3989 include reference to the other actions in the captions. In addition, Mr. Nguyen submitted an identical “addendum” to his Amended Complaints in actions 14-CV-3464 and 14-CV-3989.

On September 17, 2014, the Court dismissed the Complaints in 14-CV-3464 and 14-CV-3989 in their entirety pursuant to Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for failure to plead with specificity the violation Plaintiffs allege, and permitted Plaintiffs to file amended complaints. (See Nos. 14-CV-3464 and 14-CV-3989, Minute Entry dated Sept. 17, 2014.) By Memorandum and Order dated December 17, 2014, the Court dismissed the Complaint in 14-CV-1058 for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs subsequently filed Amended Complaints, and Defendants now move to dismiss the Amended Complaints in all of the above-captioned actions.

b. Factual background

The following facts are taken from Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaints, (Am. Compl. in No. 14-CV-1058 (“1058 Am. Compl.”), 58DE No. 23; Am. Compl. in No. 14-CV-3464 (“3464 Am. Compl.”), 64DE No. 12; 3989 Am. Compl.), an identical Addendum to the Amended Complaint submitted in actions 14-CV-3989 and 14-CV-3464 on October 24, 2014, (Am. Compl. Add., 64DE No. 14 and 89DE No. 27), and a Supplemental Addendum to the Amended Complaint filed in 14-CV-3989 on October 31, 2014, in which Mr. Nguyen “repeats and re-alleges . . . the entire amended complaint in 14-[CV]-3464.” (Suppl. Am. Compl. Add. ¶ 22, 89DE No. 28).

In sum, Plaintiffs appear to allege that Santander, Chase, Citibank and Ridgewood provided incorrect or inaccurate information about Mr. Nguyen’s accounts to Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, which affected Mr. Nguyen’s credit score. Both Plaintiffs also experienced difficulty obtaining credit from Defendant banks at various times.

i. Allegations against Santander, Blanco, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union

On or about February 19, 2007, Mr. Nguyen was approved for a “GoldOption” credit account with Santander, with a credit line of $15, 000, and another “GoldOption” credit account with a credit line of $26, 500 held by Bank of America, but serviced by FIA Card Services. (3989 Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) Mr. Nguyen alleges that he attempted to pay down his two credit accounts with his disposable income, but “[D]efendants were using unfair, deceptive, abusive acts or practices . . . to drive [Mr. Nguyen] into destitution.” In or about June of 2007, Mr. Nguyen went to a Bank of America branch to attempt to make a payment on his Santander credit card account, and alleges that Santander never received his $1000 payment.[4] (Id. ¶ 3.) Mr. Nguyen contacted a manager at one of the banks, and was eventually informed that “they found the money.” (Id.) Mr. Nguyen alleges that his “credit-performance” on the Santander account “is considered AAA.” (Id.)

Mr. Nguyen alleges that from November 19, 2008 to the present, Santander, Bank of America, and FIA Card Services, acting in conspiracy with one another, committed unfair, deceptive, abusive acts or practices “against” his accounts, forcing him “eventually and gradually into a life of hell for so many years until” September 1, 2013, when Mr. Nguyen sustained atrial fibrillation and other heart conditions. (Id. ¶ 4.) At some point, Mr. Nguyen apparently requested that someone examine the “GoldOption portfolio, ” and “the office of President and CEO represented by Tom Jordan” contacted Experian. (Id. ¶ 5.) Mr. Nguyen was also sent a “suspicious, terrorizing, and threaten [sic] letter.” (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that from October 16, 2013 through the date the present actions were filed, Experian, Bank of America and Santander “conspired in committed [sic] a fraudulent act, criminal deception, grossly abusive” practice by “fabricating” the credit utilization ratio reported to Mr. Nguyen. (Id.) Mr. Nguyen recalculated his own credit utilization ratio, based on a total credit limit of $71, 000[5] and reached a different conclusion, placing him in the “top of .01% tail [sic] on normal distribution curve of favorable credit rating and credit score.” (Id.)

In March or April of 2013, Mr. Nguyen alerted Janet Sanders, “Brooklyn Tech’s payroll secretary, ”[6] “Beth Johnson’s UFT chapter leader” and Teresa Samuels, “UFT Brooklyn Rep.” that something was wrong “inside.” (Id. ¶ 10.) In September of 2013, Mr. Nguyen spent one week in Maimonides hospital in Brooklyn. (Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiffs allege that Santander and Bank of America’s actions with respect to Mr. Nguyen’s credit accounts caused financial and psychological damage, and slowed Mr. Nguyen’s recovery time. (Id.)

In or about January 2014 through October 2014, Plaintiffs allege that Santander committed a series of deceptive, unfair, and abusive acts or practices including various forms of fraud against Mr. Nguyen’s checking account and a separate line of credit. (Id. ¶ 6.) Mr. Nguyen alerted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) and sent a letter to Blanco regarding the issue, and received a letter in reply from a bank representative on February 24, 2014.[7] (Id.) On March 29, 2014, Mr. Nguyen attempted to withdraw $20 from his account ending in -1223 at Santander, and received a receipt regarding a different account, ending in -3496, indicating that there was a larger balance in the account than he knew was in his -1223 account.[8] (Id. ¶ 6c; Ex. SF 5.) Plaintiffs allege that this was a “set-up” and a scam. (3989 Am. Compl. ¶ 6c.) Plaintiffs allege that Santander, acting in concert with Bank of America and FIA Card Services, deceptively and fraudulently violated the FCRA and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in relation to Mr. Nguyen’s credit accounts. (Id. ¶ 9.) Mr. Nguyen further states that he “has suffered loss and damages including, but not limited to, financial loss, financial injuries, expenditure of time and resources, emotional distress, A-Fib, mental anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment, entitling him to actual immediate relief.” (Id.)

In January 2014 “and thereafter, ” Mr. Nguyen contacted Experian, Trans Union and Equifax to “personally address[] the issue and offer[] [an] amicable solution.” (Id. ¶ 16.) On March 1, 2014, Plaintiffs allege that Experian committed unspecified fraud. (Id. ¶ 17.) Mr. Nguyen “gave the evidence to expose Experian [sic] crime to the [Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”)] and CFPB.” (Id.) Also in March 2014, Trans Union answered Mr. Nguyen’s letter with an inaccurate credit report, in which Trans Union “deceptively sandbag[ged]” Mr. Nguyen’s credit score by “suppress[ing] my payment’s info[rmation] and data with JPM Chase [and] Ridgewood . . . .” (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiffs also allege that Equifax used unfair practices against Mr. Nguyen for many years, apparently related to reporting a low credit utilization ratio and otherwise using or misusing Mr. Nguyen’s FICO credit score. (Id.) Mr. Nguyen also apparently received two calls from Equifax’s counsel in August, although he does not specify the year. (Id.) Plaintiffs complain that one of the calls was unprofessional because it was received at 9:26 PM on a Sunday evening, while Mr. Nguyen was serving food to his brother in a nursing home. (Id.)

On April 28, 2014, Santander “and/or” Experian “fraudulently” collected $16.30 “instead of the usual one week prior to the 28th . . . .” (Id. ¶ 6d.) Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Nguyen suffered “fears, financial and physical injuries, etc.” (Id.) Since September 17, 2014, Mr. Nguyen has received more than one hundred “harass[ing] phone call[s]” from Santander. (Id. ¶ 6e.) On October 20, 2014, Mr. Nguyen received a telephone call asking him to verify his social security number, and spoke with two different individuals. (Id. ¶ 6e.) Mr. Nguyen “politely advised them to ask those [sic] Blanco and [Vice President, Manager of Customer Relations JoAnn] Gruber and then hung up[.]” (Id. ¶ 6e.) On another occasion, Mr. Nguyen received a call from “Jeff, ” on behalf of Santander, at 8:00 AM on a Saturday. (Id.)

ii. Allegations against Citibank and Michael Corbat

At the end of the 3989 Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Citibank and Corbat “were contacted” and discussed the Plaintiffs’ allegations against them including conspiracy to commit murder. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiffs refer to the Addendum to the Amended Complaint. (Id.) Therein, Plaintiffs allege that Citibank acted with non-party Expedia “et al” in a conspiracy with “several ‘State Actors’ to committing [sic] murder or committing [sic] to terrorize us in the post 9/11 era, etc. in pursuant to FCRA” and several sections of the United States Code. (Am. Compl. Add. 1.)

At or about the time Mr. Nguyen’s father passed away in January of 2014, Mr. Nguyen called Citibank “at about 2~3 am” requesting an increase in his credit line, which was refused. (Supp. Am. Compl. Add. ¶ 15.) Mr. Nguyen allegedly purchased flights from Expedia to Vietnam to attend his father’s funeral. Mr. Nguyen alleges that Citibank acted in conjunction with Expedia to commit unfair and deceptive acts against him, forcing him to extend his credit account over the credit limit. (Id.)

At some unspecified time, Mr. Nguyen brought to Citibank’s attention an unauthorized charge on his account. (Id.) Citibank removed the charge from his account initially, but later recharged the credit account. (Id.)

On April 23, 2014, Citibank refused Ms. Nguyen a credit card account “because of terrorist activity, ” but still sent her a credit card in the mail. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiffs allege this constitutes “discrimination, character defamation, ...

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