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Luna v. Wal-Mart Transportation, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

November 1, 2018

LEONARD LUNA, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated PLAINTIFF
v.
WAL-MART TRANSPORTATION, LLC, an Arkansas Corporation; and DOES 1-10, inclusive DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Now before the Court are Defendant Wal-Mart Transportation, LLC's (hereinafter "Wal-Mart Transportation") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 41) and Brief in Support (Doc. 42), Plaintiff Leonard Luna's Brief in Opposition (Doc. 45), and Wal-Mart Transportation's Reply (Doc. 47).

         The Court conducted a motion hearing on October 9, 2018. Counsel for both parties had the opportunity to present oral argument on the Motion and answer the Court's questions. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court ruled from the bench and GRANTED Wal-Mart Transportation's Motion, dismissing the case WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The following Order memorializes the Court's findings from the bench and further explains the reasons for the Court's decision. To the extent anything in this Order conflicts with statements made from the bench, this Order will control.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On or about April 2016, Mr. Luna completed a multi-page online application for a truck-driving job with Wal-Mart Transportation. One of the forms authorized Wal-Mart Transportation to obtain a consumer report on Mr. Luna. According to Mr. Luna, the authorization form was not a "stand-alone" authorization; instead the form contained additional extraneous information. After Mr. Luna applied for the job online, Wal-Mart Transportation obtained Mr. Luna's driving record and thereafter denied him employment.

         Mr. Luna's sole cause of action alleges that Wal-Mart Transportation violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") by procuring a "consumer report" on him without first obtaining his authorization through a "clear and conspicuous disclosure ... in writing ... in a document that consists solely of the disclosure that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes." (Doc. 22); 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i) (emphasis added). Wal-Mart Transportation argues that the claim should be dismissed because Wal-Mart was not obligated to provide a stand-alone disclosure to Mr. Luna at the time he applied online for the truck-driving job. Wal-Mart Transportation points out that there are exceptions to the stand-alone disclosure requirement, and Mr. Luna's application falls under one of those exceptions.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a pleading must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The purpose of this requirement is to "give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). The court must accept all of a complaint's factual allegations as true, and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. See Ashley Cnty., Ark. v. Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir. 2009).

         However, the complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Id. In other words, while "the pleading standard that Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations, '... it demands more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         In the Amended Complaint, Mr. Luna claims Wal-Mart Transportation failed to comply with the FCRA's stand-alone disclosure requirement in 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A) before procuring a consumer report on him that contained "an incomplete [driver's] safety performance history." (Doc. 22, ¶¶ 15, 16). He sets forth the factual basis for his claim as follows:

On or about April 2016, Plaintiff Luna applied for a truck-driving job with [Wal-Mart Transportation]. As part of the multiple-page online application process, Defendant required Plaintiff Luna to complete numerous forms, including a FCRA authorization. The FCRA authorization form is buried among multiple documents and other forms and includes various other extraneous information. Accordingly, the FCRA authorization form is not presented as a stand-alone disclosure pursuant to the FCRA.

Id. at ¶ 15.

         In its Motion to Dismiss, Wal-Mart Transportation argues that Mr. Luna failed to state a valid claim because his online application for the truck driver position fell within an exception to the stand-alone disclosure requirement of 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A) ("subsection (A)"). The exception appears at 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(B) ("subsection (B)") and at 15 U.S.C. ...


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