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Booth v. Trans Union, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 21, 2018

JOHN BOOTH, Plaintiff,
v.
TRANS UNION, LLC., EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., INDEPENDENT BANK CORPORATION, REUNION STUDENT LOAN FINANCE, XEROX EDUCATION SERVICES, INC., ACS EDUCATION SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT REUNION STUDENT LOAN FINANCE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR TRANSFER OF VENUE (DOC. 27) [1]

          AVERN COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C § 1681 et seq. (FCRA) case. Plaintiff John Booth (Booth) has sued defendants Trans Union, LLC (Trans Union), Experian Information Solutions (Experian), Independent Bank Corporation, Reunion Student Loan Finance Corporation (RSL), and Xerox Education Services, d/b/a ACS Education Services (ACS).[2] In general, Booth claims that his ex-wife forged his signature on student loan applications, and that RSL and the other defendants failed to properly investigate his dispute, respond as obligated under the FCRA, and remove the student loan debts from his credit report despite numerous requests.

         Before the Court is RSL's “motion for summary judgment or to transfer venue” on the grounds that (1) Booth's claim is time-barred, (2) venue is improper due to a forum selection clause in the promissory note. (Doc. 27).[3] For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

         II. Background

         A. Timeliness

         The complaint alleges that in 2011, Booth discovered his ex-wife had forged his signature on multiple student loan applications. On January 19, 2012, Booth filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, reaffirming his house mortgage and car loan, which was discharged on April 17, 2012. On March 19, 2013, Booth filed a police report regarding the fraudulent errant trade lines (the disputed student loans). On August 22, 2017, Booth obtained his credit report and noticed the disputed student loans remained on his report. Booth then sent a letter to Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax around October 19, 2017, disputing the loans and asking for them to be corrected. They forwarded his dispute to RSL. Although Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax were supposed to inform Booth of the results of their investigation, Booth says they failed to do so. Booth then obtained copies of his credit file from each between November 30-December 6, 2017, and found that Equifax had removed the student loans from his report but Trans Union had not.

         On December 18, 2017, Booth filed a complaint against defendants in state court. Defendants later removed the case to federal court.

         B. Forum Selection Clause

         The promissory note contains the following clause:

I hereby agree that this Promissory Note and related documents shall be construed and enforced according to the laws of the state of South Dakota and I consent to the long arm jurisdiction of courts in the state of South Dakota for this purpose. I further agree that any action in any manner to this Note and/or related documents shall be litigated or processed in the state of South Dakota."[4]

(Doc. 27, Ex. A)

         III. Legal Standard

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of a plaintiff's pleading. The Rule requires that a complaint "contain something more . . . than . . . a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) (internal citation omitted). A "plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. "[T]hat a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of all the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements ...


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