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Keith v. American Education Services

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

April 7, 2014

RONNIE KEITH, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN EDUCATION SERVICES, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION, ORDER, AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge.

This case comes before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Plaintiff's Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Docket Entry 1). For the reasons that follow, pauper status will be granted solely for the purpose of recommending dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

LEGAL BACKGROUND

"The federal in forma pauperis statute, first enacted in 1892 [and now codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1915], is intended to guarantee that no citizen shall be denied access to the courts solely because his poverty makes it impossible for him to pay or secure the costs.'" Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr. , 64 F.3d 951, 953 (4th Cir. 1995) (en banc) (quoting Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. , 335 U.S. 331, 342 (1948)). "Dispensing with filing fees, however, [is] not without its problems. Parties proceeding under the statute d[o] not face the same financial constraints as ordinary litigants. In particular, litigants suing in forma pauperis d[o] not need to balance the prospects of successfully obtaining relief against the administrative costs of bringing suit." Nagy v. Federal Med. Ctr. Butner , 376 F.3d 252, 255 (4th Cir. 2004).

To address this concern, the relevant statute provides, in pertinent part, that "the [C]ourt shall dismiss the case at any time if [it] determines that... the action... fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted...." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A complaint falls short under this standard when it does not "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (emphasis added) (internal citations omitted) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In other words, the applicable standard "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id . Moreover, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.[1]

DISCUSSION

This case began with Plaintiff's filing of a pro se Complaint (Docket Entry 2), along with an Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis ("IFP Application") (Docket Entry 1). The Complaint describes itself as an "ORIGINAL COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF THE FCRA." (Docket Entry 2 at 1; see also id. at 3-4 (setting forth sole cause of action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA")).) Under the heading "GENERAL ALLEGATIONS, " the Complaint alleges as follows:

7. Plaintiff obtained his consumer credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies and found entries by entities that he was unfamiliar with in the reports.
8. Plaintiff determined that his consumer credit report had been obtained on various occasions by various entities he did not recognize and without his consent.
9. Plaintiff found after examination of his Trans Union[, ] Equifax, and Experian consumer credit report that Defendant AMERICAN EDUCATION SERVICES had obtained Plaintiffs [sic] Trans Union consumer credit report in 01/2009.
10. [Defendant] stands liable for the actions taken in [P]laintiffs [sic] report.
11. Discovery of violations brought forth herein occurred in March 2013 and are within the statute of limitations as defined in FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681p.

(Id. at 2.)[2]

Within its "VIOLATION OF THE [FCRA]" section, the Complaint identifies (incompletely, see 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)) the permissible purposes for obtaining a consumer's credit report as "if the consumer makes application for credit, makes application for employment, for underwriting of insurance involving the consumer, or is offered a bona ...


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