Federal court dismisses credit reporting lawsuit, rules it lacks personal jurisdiction

By Charmaine Little | Jun 4, 2018

ST. LOUIS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division, recently said it did not have personal jurisdiction to hear a case involving a credit reporting agency accused of misusing a consumer’s information.

In its May 22 opinion, the district court granted Creditors Bureau Associate’s (CBA) request to dismiss the case against it, agreeing with CBA's argument that the court lacked personal jurisdiction.

Plaintiff Greg Clement, who resides in Missouri, filed a lawsuit against the CBA claiming the credit agency violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Clement initially filed the lawsuit in state court before it was removed to the district court “based on federal question jurisdiction,” according to the opinion. When Clement filed, CBA was established as a Georgia business that collects debt via the FDCPA as well as a hub for credit data via the FCRA.

Clement claimed CBA submitted wrong information concerning him to two consumer reporting agencies, one in Georgia and the other in Illinois. Clement maintained he doesn’t owe the medical debt that was in question and stated CBA refused to inform the agencies he challenged the debt.

CBA, in its motion to dismiss, said the company does not have any offices in Missouri and does not do business in the state. The affidavit, released from CBA President Calder Willingham, also states the debt in question is from services performed in Georgia.

Clement provided an affidavit that pointed out he lives in Missouri and that he was in St. Louis when the credit reporting was conducted. He also claimed he suffered consequences in Missouri because of CBA’s alleged incorrect information.

In ruling on the matter, the district court stated the plaintiff only challenged specific personal jurisdiction, not general. The court ultimately decided it did not have the foundation to perform personal jurisdiction with the plaintiff’s FDCPA argument. 

The ruling pointed out that while the plaintiff stated CBA called him in Missouri, there is no evidence that the company actually reached him and spoke with him.

The district court granted CBA's moton and dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.

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