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Wickstrom v. Experian

July 1, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph G. Scoville


This is a civil action brought pro se by plaintiff under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

15 U.S.C. § 1681o. Defendant Experian is a credit reporting agency. Plaintiff alleges that the defendant violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681i by failing to conduct a "reasonable reinvestigation" regarding a debt owed on an American Express credit card account which plaintiff disputed.

The parties have voluntarily consented under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Rule 73 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct all further proceedings in this case, including entry of final judgment. The matter is now before the court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. (docket # 24). Plaintiff has filed a response (docket #s 43, 44), and defendant's motion is ready for decision. For the reasons stated herein, defendant's motion for summary judgment will be granted and judgment will be entered in defendant's favor on all plaintiff's claims.

Applicable Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); Synbrandt v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 560 F.3d 553, 557 (6th Cir. 2009). The standard for determining whether summary judgment is appropriate is "whether 'the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'" Moses v. Providence Hosp. Med. Centers, Inc., 561 F.3d 573, 578 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)); see Cady v. Arenac County, 574 F.3d 334, 339 (6th Cir. 2009). The court must consider all pleadings, depositions, affidavits, and admissions on file, and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Smith v. Williams-Ash, 520 F.3d 596, 599 (6th Cir. 2008).

When the party without the burden of proof seeks summary judgment, that party bears the initial burden of pointing out to the district court an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, but need not support its motion with affidavits or other materials "negating" the opponent's claim. See Morris v. Oldham County Fiscal Court, 201 F.3d 784, 787 (6th Cir. 2000); see also Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the movant shows that "there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case," the nonmoving party has the burden of coming forward with evidence raising a triable issue of fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To sustain this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the mere allegations of his pleadings. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); see Everson v. Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 496 (6th Cir. 2009). The motion for summary judgment forces the nonmoving party to present evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact for trial. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1478 (6th Cir. 1990). "A mere scintilla of evidence is insufficient; 'there must be evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].'" Dominguez v. Correctional Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252); see Reed v. International Union, United Aerospace & Agric. Implement Workers of Am., 569 F.3d 576, 579 (6th Cir. 2009).


The following facts are beyond genuine issue.

1. Plaintiff's Dispute with American Express This lawsuit arises from a debt of approximately $24,000 owed on an American

Express credit card account. On January 22, 2008, plaintiff Douglas Wickstrom signed an application for an AMEX SimplyCash Business Credit Card. (Ex 2; Plf. Dep. at 50). He supplied his social security number, home address, date of birth, annual income, and monthly mortgage or rent payment. Further, Mr. Wickstrom provided the company name of Narconon-Stonehawk (Narconon), and gave a tax identification number, phone number, and address. Plaintiff related that Narconon was a service business, and stated its annual revenue and the number of years it had been in business. (Ex. 2).

Plaintiff testified that he began serving as Narconon's CFO and vice-president on January 2, 2008. (Plf. Dep. at 21). American Express opened the credit card account in February 2008. (Plf. Dep. at 43). The underlying credit card agreement states as follows:

We want to remind you that this account is for business use. Both you and the company are responsible for the charges on this account.

Each use of the card on the account constitutes a loan for business or commercial purposes to the person named on the card and the company by us. You are accountable for any reimbursements and agree to remit such funds to us promptly.

The company and the basic card member are jointly and individually liable for all charges owed on the card account. We may enforce any right or remedy we may have against the company, the basic card member, or any additional card members under this agreement without affecting our other rights or remedies. (Ex. 16). American Express sent the bills for charges made on ...

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