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Johnson v. At&T Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 21, 2014

STEVEN E. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T CORP., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Counts II and III of the Complaint and to Strike Plaintiff's Request for Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 6) and Plaintiff's Rule 56(f) Motion to Defer Ruling on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Permit Limited Discovery (ECF No. 13). In the Complaint (ECF No. 1), Plaintiff alleges three causes of action based upon alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. §1681. Count I purports to allege a claim for violating the FCRA by failing to provide Johnson with a copy of the consumer report that was used to take adverse employment action against him prior to the adverse action. Count II purports to allege that Defendant procured a consumer report regarding Plaintiff without making a proper disclosure in violation of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(2)(A)(ii). Count III purports to allege that Defendant procured a consumer report upon Plaintiff without obtaining proper authorization in violation of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(2)(A)(ii).

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff applied for work with Defendant[2] in January 2014 in Jackson County, Missouri. (Compl., ¶20). As part of the application form, Plaintiff completed a disclosure form, which he asserts "was encumbered by other extraneous information." (Compl., ¶¶21-22). Plaintiff was invited back by Defendant to complete an employment test and for an interview. (Compl., ¶¶24-26). Plaintiff was directed by Defendant to take a drug test and for a physical. (Compl., ¶27). A week after his interview, Plaintiff received a telephone call from Defendant, who informed him that he would not be hired due to the results of his background check. (Compl., ¶28). Approximately three days later, Plaintiff received a letter in the mail from Hireright, the credit reporting agency used by the Defendant, that informed Plaintiff that Defendant had run a background check on Plaintiff and included a copy of the background check and a summary of Plaintiff's rights. (Compl., ¶29).

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss

A. Counts II and III

1. Standards

a. Standard for Motion to Dismiss

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must view the allegations in the complaint liberally in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Eckert v. Titan Tire Corp. , 514 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Luney v. SGS Auto Servs. , 432 F.3d 866, 867 (8th Cir. 2005)). Additionally, the Court "must accept the allegations contained in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." Coons v. Mineta , 410 F.3d 1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating the "no set of facts" standard for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) found in Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, 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." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555; Huang v. Gateway Hotel Holdings , 520 F.Supp.2d 1137, 1140 (E.D. Mo. 2007).

b. Standard for More Definite Statement

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e), "[a] party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a response." When a "pleading fails to specify the allegations in a manner that provides sufficient notice, a defendant can move for a more definite under Rule 12(e) before responding." McCoy v. St. Louis Pub. Sch., 4:11CV918 CDP, 2011 WL 4857931, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 13, 2011)(quoting Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A. , 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002)). A motion for more definite statement is proper when a party is unable to determine issues he must meet, or where there is a major ambiguity or omission in the complaint that renders it unanswerable. Tinder v. Lewis County Nursing Home Dist. , 207 F.Supp.2d 951, 959 (E.D.Mo.2001)(internal citations omitted).

c. Opportunity to Replead Counts II and III

15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(2)(A)(i) under the FCRA provides that "a person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes." In Counts II and III Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to properly disclose that a consumer report would be obtained and failed to obtain a valid authorization from Plaintiff for the consumer report. In Count II of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the FCRA by the use of a disclosure form that contains a [sic] extraneous information other than the authorization." (Compl., ¶72); see also Compl., ¶45 ("The inclusion of the extraneous information, other than the authorization, within the disclosure document violates the FCRA."). Plaintiff alleges that this violation was "willful" because "Defendant knew that the [FCRA] disclosure should consist solely of the consumer report disclosure." (Compl., ¶73). In ...


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