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Monday, September 7, 2009

New FCRA case - Eller v. Experian and Trans Union

A new case was released on August 20, 2009 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.  The case was filed pro se by Gerald Hansen Eller but he apparently hired attorney Steven T. Nolan after Trans Union moved to dismiss his Complaint as not containing sufficient facts to support his claims that Trans Union violated the FCRA. 

Since attorney Nolan did not have sufficient time to review the complaint or determine whether the complaint should be amended, the court viewed the motion to dismiss using the standard applied to pro se filed complaints, i.e. very liberally.

While the Court did find that Eller did not provide sufficient facts to establish his claims of violations of the FCRA, the Court found that amendment of the complaint was the appropriate remedy, not dismissal.  As a result, the Court granted Trans Union's motion in dismiss in part (the part that claimed lack of sufficient facts) but denied dismissal, instead opting to give plaintiff and his new counsel an opportunity to amend the complaint to allege sufficient facts.

I agree that amendment is appropriate, however, I do not think it is required.  The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure merely require "notice" pleadings, i.e. pleadings sufficient enough to put the defendant on notice of the claims filed against it.  The plaintiff's complaint provided sufficient notice to Trans Union for Trans Union to discern the types of claims lodged against it.  Trans Union could then have used the discovery period of the litigation to flesh out the facts supporting the claims against it.  That's what discovery is for.  Fortunately, the Court avoided a complete injustice by giving the plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint.

That's my opinion, at least.  But what do you think of the Court's ruling?

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