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Mitchell v. Winco Foods, LLC

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 9, 2019

GLORIA MITCHELL, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
WINCO FOODS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. LYNN WINMILL, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Winco Foods LLC's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. Dkt. 49. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART Winco's Motion.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The Court previously dismissed Plaintiff Gloria Mitchell's First Amended Complaint after concluding that Mitchell failed to adequately allege “concrete injury, ” thereby denying this Court jurisdiction under Article III of the Constitution. Dkt. 28. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed this Court's decision with respect to the Article III inquiry but ordered the Court to provide Mitchell the opportunity to amend her complaint. Dkt. 42. Mitchell subsequently filed a Second Amended Complaint. Dkt. 46. Apparently satisfied that the Second Amended Complaint adequately alleged facts establishing that Mitchell has standing to pursue her claims, WINCO has filed this motion to dismiss - alleging other grounds why the complaint should be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id.

         The Supreme Court identified two “working principles” that underlie Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). First, the court need not accept legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations as true; the trial court “can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. Rule 8 does not “unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79. Second, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.

         ANALYSIS

         1. The Fair Credit Reporting Act's Statutory Scheme

         The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides an intricate set of requirements for employers who seek to obtain information about their potential employees. To begin with, the FCRA contains a clear distinction between “consumer reports” and “investigative consumer reports.” The FCRA defines “consumer reports” as:

any written, oral, or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for… employment purposes.

15 U.S.C. § 1681a(d)(1). The FCRA defines “investigative consumer reports” as:

a consumer report or portion thereof in which information on a consumer's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates of the consumer reported on or with others with whom he is acquainted or who may have knowledge concerning any such items of information. However, such information shall not include specific factual information on a consumer's credit record obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from a consumer reporting agency when such information was obtained directly from a creditor of the consumer or from the consumer.

15 U.S.C. § 1681a(e).

         The distinction between consumer reports and investigative consumer reports is important when considered within the context of the disclosures required under the FCRA. Section 1681b(b)(2)(A) provides:

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-(i) 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 ...

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