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Ingram v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

February 12, 2018

KRYSTAL INGRAM PLAINTIFF
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC.; UNITED STUDENT AID FUNDS, INC.; NAVIENT SOLUTIONS, fka SALLIE MAE, INC.; and UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NEAL B. BIGGERS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the court is the defendants' joint motion to enforce settlement agreements or, alternatively, for judgment on the pleadings. Upon due consideration of the motion, response, exhibits and applicable authority, the court is ready to rule.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The plaintiff, Krystal Ingram, alleges that she is the victim of identity theft. Ingram asserts that, without her knowledge or consent, the thief obtained multiple student loans in her name and later failed to make timely payments.

         The providers of these loans reported the derogatory payment history to the consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”), Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Consequently, Ingram's credit report reflected the loan debt, causing her credit rating to take a significant hit. As a result, she allegedly suffered “multiple adverse actions and denials of credit.”

         Ingram disputed the alleged fraudulent loan debt to the CRAs on numerous occasions and requested that the debt be deleted from her credit reports. The CRAs then forwarded Ingram's disputes to the furnishers of information, i.e. the loan providers. Ingram subsequently filed the instant suit against the CRAs and furnishers of information for alleged violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq..

         During discovery, Defendant Experian produced to Ingram the records it subpoenaed from the schools for which the aforementioned student loans were obtained. Ingram subsequently began settlement negotiations with Defendants. The following recitation of events is undisputed:

         Experian

         On August 23, 2017, Will Rooks, counsel for Experian, e-mailed Christopher Kittell, counsel for Ingram, and stated “[t]hank you for your telephone call earlier today to convey Plaintiff's settlement offer.” Rooks continued “I have conveyed your offer to my client, ” and “Experian will waive any claims it may have against Plaintiff if she will dismiss all claims against Experian.” Rooks sent a follow-up e-mail to clarify that the aforementioned “dismissal must be with prejudice.”

         On August 24, 2017, Kittell responded to Rooks, saying “now that Experian has agreed to waive any claims against the Plaintiff, this is acceptable. Please send the settlement agreement and credit report at your convenience.” Later that day, Rooks e-mailed Kittell and asked “will you agree to file a stipulation of dismissal of Experian with prejudice once you receive our notice of withdrawal of our deposition subpoena?” Kittell responded “that's fine.”

         The following day, August 25, 2017, Rooks sent Kittell Experian's withdrawal of the deposition subpoena. Then, on August 28, 2017, Rooks sent Kittell the settlement agreement, release and an updated consumer disclosure.

         United States Department of Education

         On August 23, 2017, Kittell called Assistant United States Attorney Stuart Davis and offered to voluntarily dismiss Ingram's claims against USDOE in exchange for a promise from USODE that it would not pursue any counterclaims it may have against Ingram. Davis responded to Kittell's offer on August 25, 2017, and stated that he had “run [Ingram's] voluntary dismissal proposal by the appropriate supervisors in [his] office, ” and that “[USDOE] will agree to a dismissal and . . . will agree not to file a civil counterclaim against [] Ingram.”

         Navient Solutions and ...


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