from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida D.C. Docket No. 9:16-cv-80688-WJZ
MARTIN, JILL PRYOR, and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges.
MARTIN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
years spent trying to correct what he views as a false entry
on his credit report, John Pinson sued the entity he believed
provided the false information: JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A
("JPMorgan Chase"). His pro se complaint
asserted claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.,
and the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15
U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. On JPMorgan Chase's
motion, the District Court dismissed his complaint for
failure to state a claim. Having reviewed Mr. Pinson's
complaint, and with the benefit of oral argument, we conclude
he has stated three plausible claims for relief under the
FCRA. We therefore reverse in part and remand to the District
Court to give Mr. Pinson the chance to prove his FCRA claims.
However, we cannot say Mr. Pinson plausibly stated a claim
under the FDCPA. We therefore affirm the District Court's
dismissal of his FDCPA claim.
Pinson got a copy of his credit report from TransUnion, a
consumer credit reporting agency, in May 2012. His report showed
a past due account with an entity called Chase Home Finance
LLC. But Mr. Pinson says he does not have an account with
Chase Home Finance LLC. Mr. Pinson's explanation is that
JPMorgan Chase, with whom Pinson has a past-due mortgage,
used the false name Chase Home Finance when it reported the
debt to TransUnion.
2012, Mr. Pinson disputed the entry with both JPMorgan Chase
and TransUnion. TransUnion responded a couple of weeks later
with a letter saying Chase Home Finance would continue to
appear on his credit report. There is no allegation JPMorgan
Pinson sent another letter to JPMorgan Chase in September
2012, again disputing the Chase Home Finance entry on his
report. JPMorgan Chase did not respond. Undaunted, Mr. Pinson
sent at least four more such letters to JPMorgan Chase in
2013. So far as the complaint shows, JPMorgan Chase never
responded to any of those letters, either.
April 2014, Mr. Pinson disputed the entry with TransUnion
once again. TransUnion responded with another letter saying
Chase Home Finance would continue to appear on the report.
Mr. Pinson repeated his dispute in yet another letter to
TransUnion in June 2014. TransUnion once again replied that
the Chase Home Finance entry would continue to appear.
told, Mr. Pinson wrote TransUnion three times and JPMorgan
Chase at least six. Yet the Chase Home Finance entry still
appeared on Mr. Pinson's credit report as of May 2015.
this back-and-forth, Mr. Pinson says JPMorgan Chase failed to
investigate the accuracy of the information on his credit
report. He also says JPMorgan Chase requested his credit
report from Experian, another credit reporting agency, some
twenty times without a proper purpose.
Pinson sued JPMorgan Chase in April 2016, asserting
violations of the FDCPA and the FCRA. He asserts JPMorgan Chase
violated the FDCPA's prohibition on using a name other
than a business's true name in connection with the
collection of a debt when JPMorgan Chase gave TransUnion the
name Chase Home Finance. See 15 U.S.C. §
1692e(14). He also claims JPMorgan Chase violated the FCRA by
failing to investigate the accuracy of information it
provided to TransUnion and by requesting his credit report
without a permissible purpose. See id. §§
1681b(f), 1681s-2(b), 1681o.
JPMorgan Chase's motion, the District Court dismissed Mr.
Pinson's complaint for failure to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Mr. Pinson timely appealed. The Court appointed Ashwin Phatak
to represent Mr. Pinson on appeal, and he ably discharged his
review de novo our subject matter jurisdiction, and
we have an independent obligation to ensure jurisdiction
exists. Univ. of S. Ala. v. Am. Tobacco Co., 168
F.3d 405, 408, 410 (11th Cir. 1999). We also review de
novo the grant of a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, accepting the allegations in the complaint as
true and construing them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Hunt v. Aimco Props., L.P., 814 F.3d
1213, 1221 (11th Cir. 2016). To state a claim, a complaint
must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).
A complaint is facially plausible where there is enough
factual content to allow "the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). We liberally
construe pro se pleadings. Tannenbaum v. United
States, 148 F.3d 1262, 1263 (11th Cir. 1998) (per
initially consider whether Mr. Pinson has standing to bring
his claims. We conclude he does.
a limitation on federal subject matter jurisdiction derived
from Article III, requires plaintiffs to show they suffered
an injury in fact traceable to the defendant's conduct
and redressable by a favorable decision. Spokeo, Inc. v.
Robins, 578 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1546-47 (2016).
"To establish injury in fact, a plaintiff must show that
he or she suffered 'an invasion of a legally protected
interest' that is 'concrete and particularized'
and 'actual or imminent, not conjectural or
hypothetical.'" Id. at 1548 (quoting
Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560, 112
S.Ct. 2130, 2136 (1992)).
Pinson alleged actual, concrete, and particularized injuries:
that he lost time communicating with JPMorgan Chase and
TransUnion; that he incurred out-of-pocket expenses trying to
correct misinformation on his credit report; and that he was
denied access to credit and paid higher car insurance
premiums as a result of JPMorgan Chase's conduct. We have
held that the time spent by a person attempting to correct a
false credit report constitutes a concrete injury for
purposes of an FCRA claim. See Pedro v. Equifax,
Inc., 868 F.3d 1275, 1280 (11th Cir. 2017) ("Pedro
also alleged a concrete injury because she alleged that she
'lost time . . . attempting to resolve the credit
addition, economic harm is a quintessential injury in fact.
See Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 733, 92
S.Ct. 1361, 1365 (1972) ("[P]alpable economic injuries
have long been recognized as sufficient to lay the basis for
standing . . . ."). Beyond the out-of-pocket expenses,
such as postal expenses, incurred by Mr. Pinson in his
repeated communications concerning the information in his
credit report, he also alleges economic harm in the form of
lost credit opportunities and higher car insurance premiums.
Mr. Pinson says JPMorgan Chase's alleged violations of
the FDCPA and FCRA caused this economic harm. At this stage
in Mr. Pinson's case, we accept his allegations as true,
and we find them specific enough for us to conclude Mr.
Pinson plausibly suffered an injury traceable to JPMorgan
Chase's conduct. See id. at 1336 ("Each
element of standing . . . must be supported in the same way
as any other matter on which the plaintiff bears the burden
of proof, i.e., with the manner and degree of
evidence required at the successive stages of the
litigation." (quotation marks omitted)). This is
particularly true given our liberal construction of Mr.
Pinson's pro se complaint.
of lost time and money, the harm Mr. Pinson alleges-"the
reporting of inaccurate information about [his]
credit"-has "a close relationship to the harm
caused by the publication of defamatory information, which
has long provided the basis for a lawsuit in English and
American courts." Pedro, 868 F.3d at 1279-80.
That in itself constitutes a concrete injury. See
id. at 1279; see also Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1549
(noting that, in assessing whether an injury is concrete,
"it is instructive to consider whether an alleged
intangible harm has a close ...