Court Denies Trans Union Motion to Stay in FCRA Class Action Case

Dennis v. Trans Union, LLC, Dist. Court, ED Pennsylvania (Jan. 12, 2016)

Consumer reporting agency Trans Union filed a motion to stay, in an effort to postpone legal proceedings for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). The Court  denied Trans Union’s motion because Trans Union could not prove that a stay would promote judicial economy.

Facts: On May 20, 2014, the consumer plaintiff in the case, Deidre Dennis, sued Trans Union under the FCRA.  Ms. Dennis alleged: (1) Trans Union failed to accurately and completely disclose the source of its public records information in her consumer file; (2) Trans Union failed to maintain reasonable procedures to ensure accuracy of her credit report when preparing it; (3) Trans Union failed to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation after she disputed false information.

Ms. Dennis also claims Trans Union systematically misrepresents the source of its public record information, which it places on their consumer reports. As a result, consumers have a more difficult time correcting errors that are caused by Trans Union or its data furnishers, or both.

Trans Union filed its motion to stay on July 7, 2015.

Motion to Stay: Trans Union requested to stay the proceedings until the United States Supreme Court decided on Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo and Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. Because Trans Union made the Motion to Stay, it “bears the burden of establishing its need.”[1] The Court typically considers three factors when deciding whether to stay a proceeding pending the outcome of another federal court case, including  the “(1) promotion of judicial economy; (2) balance of harm to the parties; and (3) duration of the requested stay.”[2]

Promotion of Judicial Economy: Trans Union argued judicial economy would be promoted if the Supreme Court holds that proof of actual harm is required in Spokeo to recover statutory damages under the FCRA, then the proposed class could not be certified absent proof of actual harm. Therefore, judicial economy would be promoted because the Court would no longer need to resolve issues with discovery, review pretrial briefs, or try Dennis’ FCRA claim as a class claim.

Dennis successfully argued judicial economy would not be promoted because she has an individual claim seeking actual damages and statutory damages. Therefore, even if there is no FCRA class action claim due to not having actual harm, Dennis’ individual case will proceed forward and still require substantially the same discovery. Moreover, if the stay was granted and the Spokeo case had no affect on this case, current discovery for the individual case would have to be repeated, thus frustrating the promotion of judicial economy.

Regarding the class certification, Dennis has not yet moved to certify a class. Therefore, the possible impact of the Supreme Court case is yet to be determined. As a result, the court concluded that it is not clear whether judicial economy would be promoted with a stay in litigation, or whether it would “needlessly delay the progress of Plaintiff’s claims as well as those of potential class members.” Because there was no clear promotion of judicial economy, the court did not need to look at the other factors, and the court denied Trans Union’s motion to stay.

[1] Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997) (citing Landis v. N. Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 255 (1936)).[2] Ciolli v. Iravani, No. Civ.A.08-2601, 2008 WL 4412053, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 23, 2008).

With offices in Atlanta, Birmingham and Dallas, Texas, The Adkins Firm represents consumers across the South in individual and class actions lawsuits under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  Do you have errors on your credit report?  Have you disputed the errors and the credit bureaus verified false information?

If you answered yes, then you should contact The Adkins Firm for a free case review at 1-800-263-9091 24/7 or email us at: