Geiling v. Wirt Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 15-1393, 2017 WL 6945559, at *1–3 (6th Cir. June 8, 2017), cert. denied.

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Geiling v. Wirt Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 15-1393, 2017 WL 6945559, at *1–3 (6th Cir. June 8, 2017), cert. denied.

Postby Administrator » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:43 pm

Geiling v. Wirt Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 15-1393, 2017 WL 6945559, at *1–3 (6th Cir. June 8, 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 740, 199 L. Ed. 2d 606 (2018)

Before: NORRIS, COOK, and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges.

*1 Brenda and Cal Geiling, Michigan residents proceeding pro se, challenge the dismissal of their claims brought under state law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. This case has been referred to a panel of the court that, upon examination, unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a).

The Geilings sued Wirt Financial Services (Wirt); the law firm of Masud, Patterson, Schutter, Peters & Vary, P.C. (Masud); Dow Chemical Employee Credit Union (DCECU); and W. Jay Brown, PLC, and attorney W. Jay Brown (Brown). The Geilings alleged three causes of action against each of the defendants: violations of the FCRA; violations of the Michigan Social Security Number Privacy Act; and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Geilings alleged two causes of action against Brown only: public disclosure and false light.

In 2007 and 2008, the Geilings obtained two loans from Wirt. As part of the application process, Wirt obtained the Geilings' consumer credit reports. In 2008, Brenda Geiling obtained a loan from DCECU using a boat as collateral. Geiling used the money from that loan to pay off Wirt.

The Geilings' boat was stored at Wilson Motorsports, LLC (Wilson). Brenda Geiling defaulted on the DCECU loan, and DCECU sought its possession. Wilson refused to give the boat to DCECU, and DCECU sued Wilson. Masud represented Wilson. During that litigation, Masud subpoenaed from Wirt all documents relating to Brenda Geiling's loan. In response, Wirt produced the Geilings' entire loan file, including their consumer credit reports. In response to DCECU's discovery requests, and although it was not specifically requested, Masud mailed DCECU a copy of the Geilings' 2008 consumer credit reports.

Brown took over representation of Wilson. The Geilings alleged that DCECU sent Brown copies of the Geilings' credit reports. In 2013, Wilson, through Brown, sued the Geilings for indemnification. In response to the Geilings' discovery requests, Brown sent the Geilings copies of their 2008 consumer credit reports.

Wirt, Brown, and Masud moved the district court to dismiss the Geilings' complaint, and DCECU moved for judgment on the pleadings. The Geilings moved to amend their amended complaint. A magistrate judge recommended granting the defendants' motions and denying the Geilings' motion to amend. On de novo review, the district court dismissed the Geilings' FCRA claim with prejudice for failure to state a claim, declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state-law claims and dismissed them without prejudice, and denied the Geilings' motion to amend.

The Geilings appeal, arguing that they stated a claim under the FCRA because 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(f) does not allow a “user” to share a consumer credit report with an unauthorized third party and that the district court erred in denying their second and third motions to amend their complaint, denying them discovery, and declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over their state-law claims.

*2 The question is whether the complaint alleges a plausible theory of relief after drawing all reasonable factual inferences in favor of the plaintiffs. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). As explained below, it does not.

The Geilings argue that Wirt, Masud, Brown, and DCECU violated the FCRA by transferring their credit reports as part of several court proceedings. The questions that this court must answer are whether the FCRA imposes liability on third parties who obtain consumer reports from other third parties without complying with the FCRA's certification requirements, and whether the FCRA imposes liability on the third parties who transfer consumer reports to other third parties without complying with the FCRA's certification requirements. It does neither.

The FCRA regulates consumer reporting agencies. 15 U.S.C. § 1681.

Section 1681b(f) limits when a person may use or obtain a consumer report. Although § 1681b(f) does not explicitly limit from whom a consumer report may be obtained, it must be read in context with the overall statutory scheme. See Greenbaum v. U.S. E.P.A., 370 F.3d 527, 535–36 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 132–33 (2000)). When read in the context of the FCRA,

§ 1681b(f) prohibits a person from impermissibly using or obtaining a credit report from a consumer reporting agency. Masud, Brown, and DCECU are not consumer reporting agencies. Nor did a consumer reporting agency disseminate the Geilings' consumer reports to Masud, Brown, or DCECU. Thus, the Geilings have not stated a violation of

§ 1681b(f). See Tierney v. Advocate Health & Hosps. Corp., 797 F.3d 449, 452–53 (7th Cir. 2015). Nor do the Geilings identify any other provision of the FCRA that these defendants may have violated.

With respect to Wirt, the Geilings argue that Wirt improperly produced their consumer reports to Masud pursuant to his subpoena. Wirt is not a consumer reporting agency, see 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f), and the Geilings do not point to any provision of the FCRA that Wirt violated. Even if Wirt were a consumer reporting agency, Wirt was complying with a court order when it produced the Geilings' reports, which is permitted under § 1681b(a)(1). See Hahn v. Star Bank, 190 F.3d 708, 713 (6th Cir. 1999).

The complaint does not identify any plausible theory on which the defendants may be liable under the FCRA. The district court did not err in dismissing the Geilings' FCRA claim.

The Geilings argue that the district court erred in denying their motion to amend their complaint to add a due process claim arising from the parties' failure to join them in the Wilson lawsuit. This court reviews for an abuse of discretion the denial of a motion to amend a complaint. Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Brumbalough v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc., 427 F.3d 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2005). The district court granted the Geilings' first motion to amend their complaint, and because their due process claim is meritless, they have not shown that justice required further amendment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). Thus, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the Geilings' motion to amend.

*3 The Geilings argue that the district court should have exercised supplemental jurisdiction over their state-law claims because the claims arise from the same facts as their FCRA claims. Absent an abuse of discretion, this court will not overturn a district court's decision to not exercise supplemental jurisdiction. Weeks v. Portage Cty. Exec. Offices, 235 F.3d 275, 279–80 (6th Cir. 2000). In light of 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)'s express language that a district court may dismiss any remaining state-law claims after all of the federal claims have been dismissed, the Geilings cannot meet this standard.

The Geilings argue that the district court should have allowed them discovery because there is a witness, who if granted an order of protection, would testify that Wirt “pulled the Geilings['] credit report on Wirt[']s behalf from Credit Plus Inc.” The Geilings fail to explain how this would have saved their FCRA claim.

Accordingly, the district court's judgment is AFFIRMED.

All Citations
Not Reported in F.3d, 2017 WL 6945559End of Document
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