Bey v. Corbat et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: The Court denies defendant's motion to dismiss [dkt. no. 45]. In addition, the Court also denies plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [dkt. no. 54]. which was filed after the end of briefing on the motion to dismiss. The summary judgment motion is a 5-sentence document that is not properly supported as required under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1. The Court also denies plaintiff's motion for sanctions [dkt. no. 56] and moti on to strike [dkt. no. 57] because he has identified no viable basis for such relief. Defendants are directed to answer plaintiffs' amended complaint by no later than January 31, 2022. The case is set for a telephonic status hearing on February 7, 2022 at 8:55 a.m., using call-in number 888-684-8852, access code 746-1053. Finally, the Clerk is directed to correct the caption and title of the case to read "Bey v. Citigroup Investment Inc et al" in light of the dismissal of other previously-named defendants. Signed by the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly on 1/10/2022. Mailed notice. (mma, )
Case: 1:20-cv-05211 Document #: 58 Filed: 01/10/22 Page 1 of 5 PageID #:441
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
MUHAMMAD BEY, beneficiary owner, )
and 1st lien holder, for MUHAMMAD )
CITIGROUP INVESTMENT INC.,
EQUIFAX INC., and EXPERIAN
INFORMATION SOLUTIONS INC.,
Case No. 20 C 5211
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS AMENDED COMPLAINT
In May 2021, the Court dismissed pro se plaintiff Mohammed Bey's claim under
the Fair Credit Reporting Act against Citibank N.A. and two credit reporting agencies:
Experian Information Solutions Inc. and Equifax Inc. See Bey v. Citibank, N.A., No. 20
C 5211, 2021 WL 1853231 (N.D. Ill. May 10, 2021). Bey then filed an amended
complaint. The defendants have moved to dismiss it under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
The factual background as alleged by Bey is as follows. He learned that
Experian and Equifax had provided his credit report to Citibank. His credit score
dropped as a result of this. Bey inquired and was provided information from Experian
and Equifax indicating that they had furnished the report to Citibank because he had
applied for credit with Citibank. Bey alleges this is untrue; he says he did not apply for
The Fair Credit Reporting Act permits a credit reporting agency to furnish a
Case: 1:20-cv-05211 Document #: 58 Filed: 01/10/22 Page 2 of 5 PageID #:442
consumer report to a person which it has reason to believe intends to use it for certain
specified purposes, including (as applicable here) the requester's intent "to use the
information in connection with credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the
information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or
collection of an account of, the consumer." 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A). Bey contends
that this provision does not apply because he did not have or apply for credit with
Citibank. He has sued claiming that the defendants are liable under the FCRA because
they provided (Experian and Equifax) and obtained (Citibank) his credit report for an
In his amended complaint, Bey identifies the Citibank defendant as "Citigroup
Investment Inc. a/k/a Citibank a/k/a Citicorp Credit Services, Inc. (USA)." The Court will
refer to this defendant as Citigroup. Bey's claim against Citigroup arises under 15
U.S.C. § 1681n(b), which provides that a person who obtains a consumer report under
false pretenses or knowingly without a permissible purpose is liable for the consumer's
actual damages, or statutory damages of $1,000, whichever is greater. Bey has
sufficiently alleged this as to Citigroup: he says he did not apply for credit with the
company, and his materials include a plausible basis for an allegation that Citigroup told
the credit reporting agencies otherwise. Citigroup is not entitled to dismissal.
Equifax and Experian
Bey's claims against Equifax and Experian are asserted under 15 U.S.C. §
1681n(a) and 15 U.S.C. § 1681o. Under 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a), a person who willfully
fails to comply with a requirement under the FCRA is liable to the consumer for actual
Case: 1:20-cv-05211 Document #: 58 Filed: 01/10/22 Page 3 of 5 PageID #:443
damages or statutory damages from $100 to $1000, as well as punitive damages.
Under 15 U.S.C. § 1681o, a person who negligently fails to comply with a requirement
under the statute is liable to the consumer for the consumer's actual damages; statutory
and punitive damages are not available for negligent noncompliance.
Bey's claims against Experian and Equifax depend on whether the credit
reporting agencies complied with a provision of the FCRA that requires credit reporting
agencies to maintain reasonable procedures "designed . . . to limit the furnishing of
consumer reports" to the purposes listed in the statute. 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(a). Bey
alleges that the two agencies failed to maintain reasonable procedures that would have
prevented Citigroup from improperly obtaining his credit report.
The defendants say that Bey's allegation is conclusory and unsupported, and that
he offers no evidence to support it. How could he? He has had no opportunity for
discovery. At this point what Bey has is his statement that he did not apply for credit
with Citigroup; Equifax's and Experian's statements that they gave his information to
Citigroup based on the proposition that he had applied for credit from Citibank; and his
own knowledge that this proposition is false. 1 That's all Bey knows about what
happened with Equifax and Experian, and that's all he can be expected to know at this
point. In fact that's all anyone in Bey's shoes—whether pro se or represented—would
be expected to know at this point, unless the credit reporting agencies voluntarily
coughed up the documentation from Citigroup supporting its request for Bey's credit
The Court adds, as it made clear in its earlier decision in this case, that Bey's inclusion
with his complaint of documents in which Experian and Equifax contend that they
furnished the report due to a credit application with Citibank does not mean that he has
adopted the truth of that contention. To the contrary, he specifically alleges it is false.
See Bey, 2021 WL 1853231, at *4.
Case: 1:20-cv-05211 Document #: 58 Filed: 01/10/22 Page 4 of 5 PageID #:444
report. But they haven’t. If what Equifax and Experian say is missing is required to
state a claim for relief, then it would seem that no claim for improper providing of a
credit report would ever get out of the starting gate.
The Court concludes that Bey's allegation that the defendants furnished his
consumer report to Citibank based on a false pretense is sufficient, for purposes of a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, to state a claim for liability under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n or
1681o(a)(1). Bey cannot, however, proceed under section 1681n, for he has alleged no
actual damages. Thus his only claim for relief is under section 1681o(a)(1), which will
require him to show willful violations on the part of Equifax and Experian.
In sum, the defendants are not entitled to dismissal of Bey's complaint. Bey has
sufficiently pleaded a claim against each of them. At this point the inquiry is going to
involve what actually happened in connection with Equifax and Experian providing his
credit report to Citigroup, and why. If defendants believe they can establish that there
was a proper basis for Citigroup to obtain the credit report, or for Experian and Equifax
to provide it to Citigroup, they should file a motion for summary judgment.
For the reasons stated above, the Court denies defendant's motion to dismiss
[dkt. no. 45]. In addition, the Court also denies plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
[dkt. no. 54]. which was filed after the end of briefing on the motion to dismiss. The
summary judgment motion is a 5-sentence document that is not properly supported as
required under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1. The Court also
denies plaintiff's motion for sanctions [dkt. no. 56] and motion to strike [dkt. no. 57]
because he has identified no viable basis for such relief. Defendants are directed to
Case: 1:20-cv-05211 Document #: 58 Filed: 01/10/22 Page 5 of 5 PageID #:445
answer plaintiffs' amended complaint by no later than January 31, 2022. The case is
set for a telephonic status hearing on February 7, 2022 at 8:55 a.m., using call-in
number 888-684-8852, access code 746-1053. Finally, the Clerk is directed to correct
the caption and title of the case to read "Bey v. Citigroup Investment Inc et al" in light of
the dismissal of other previously-named defendants.
Date: January 10, 2022
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY
United States District Judge
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