In Moore v. Mandarich Law Grp., LLP, No. 1:21-cv-20481-KMM, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20201, at *4-9 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 7, 2023), Judge Moore dismissed an FDCPA/FCRA class action grounded on a debt collection firm’s filing a pleading that included Plaintiff’s unredacted credit score. Judge Moore found no FCRA violation.
Courts have routinely held that debt collectors may obtain and use a credit report in connection with the collection of a debt—and that such use is not a violation [*5] of the FCRA. See, e.g., Middlebrooks v. Sacor Financial, Inc., 775 Fed. Appx. 594, 598 (11th Cir. 2019) (per curiam); Corcoran, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 241515, at *5. Here, Defendants, a debt collector and its lawyer, used Plaintiff’s credit report in a state court filing in connection with the collection of Plaintiff’s debt. Ds’ 56.1 ¶ 3. Accordingly, the Court finds that Defendants (1) had a permissible purpose for publishing Plaintiff’s credit score, and (2) did not violate the FCRA. The Court notes that Plaintiff fails to cite to any authority in the FCRA, or otherwise, that would require that Defendants redact Plaintiff’s credit score information from a filing in a debt collection proceeding. The Court declines to create such a rule now. Corcoran, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 241515, at *5 (granting defendant’s motion to dismiss where the plaintiff failed to find any authority requiring the defendant to redact credit score information from a filing in a debt collection proceeding). Accordingly, the Court finds that summary judgment is appropriate as to Count I because no reasonable jury could return a verdict for Plaintiff.
Nor did Judge Moore find an FDCPA violation.
Furthermore, “[i]t is not enough that a debt collector’s actions caused the consumer ’embarrassment, inconvenience, and further expense,’ but rather those actions must ‘manifest a tone [*7] of intimidation.'” Middlebrooks, 775 Fed. Appx. at 597 (quoting Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1305 (11th Cir. 2015)). If facts alleged do not have the natural consequence of harassing or abusing a debtor, courts can appropriately dismiss claims under § 1692d as a matter of law. Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1305 (11th Cir. 2015). The Court finds instructive Judge Dimitrouleas’s Order in Corcoran. Specifically, Judge Dimitrouleas held that failing to redact a credit score in a state court filing is not a violation of the FDCPA. 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 241515, at *9. Judge Dimitrouleas reasoned that “a failure to redact a credit score from a state court filing differs significantly from the type of conduct listed in § 1692d.” This Court agrees. Failing to redact a credit score in a state court filing does not have the natural consequence of harassing or abusing a debtor, nor does it manifest a tone of intimidation, and therefore is not a violation of § 1692d of the FDCPA.. . . In Corcoran, Judge Dimitrouleas held that docketing an unredacted credit score is neither unfair, nor unconscionable, and does not violate § 1692f. Corcoran, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 241515, at *15-16. This Court agrees. The Court notes that Plaintiff offers no binding or persuasive caselaw suggesting that failing to redact a credit score in a public filing is unfair, unconscionable, or a violation of § 1692f. Plaintiff argues that whether conduct harasses, oppresses, or abuses will be a question for the jury. Resp. at 8. While “[o]rdinarily whether conduct harasses, oppresses, or abuses will be a question for the jury, . . . Congress has indicated its desire for the courts to structure the confines of § 1692d.” Jeter v. Credit Bureau, Inc., 760 F.2d 1168, 1179 (11th Cir. 1985). “[C]ourts have dismissed § 1692d claims as a matter of law if the facts alleged do not have the natural consequence of harassing or abusing a debtor.” Wood v. Midland Funding, LLC, 698 F. App’x 260, 266 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Jeter, 760 F.2d at 1179). Based on the undisputed facts presented, no reasonable jury could find that Defendants violated the FDCPA by filing the Statement of Claim, which included Plaintiff’s unredacted credit score. Defendants are therefore entitled to summary judgment as to Count II.