United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, JUDGE
the Court is Experian Information Solutions, Inc.'s
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc.
16) against Kwame Asante. For the reasons that
follow, the Motion (Doc. 16) is
dispute arises from a consumer credit reporting agency's
alleged failure to remove false and damaging information from
a credit report. (Doc. 1).
Asante is a Louisiana-licensed attorney. (Id. at
¶[ 13). Experian is a consumer credit reporting agency.
(Id. at ¶ 4). Asante, proceeding pro
se, sued Experian for defaming him and violating his
rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681 et seq. (Id., at ¶¶ 12-40). He
alleges that Experian defamed him by publishing "false
and negative statements concerning" his credit history.
(Id. at ¶ 22). He alleges that Experian
violated his rights under the FCRA by failing to
"perform reasonable reinvestigations" of items on
his credit report. (Id. at ¶ 34).
not the first time Asante has sued Experian. (Id. at
¶ 32). Less than one year before he filed this suit, he
obtained a favorable judgment in another: a suit against
Experian in Baton Rouge City Court. (Doc. 16-3). The
judgment, entered in March 2018, awarded him $3, 000 in
statutory penalties for FCRA violations occurring in June
to that judgment, Experian invokes Louisiana's res
judicata statute, La. R.S. 13:4231, and moves for judgment on
the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).
(Doc. 16). Asante opposes. (Doc. 30). His brief, however,
does not address Experian's res judicata
argument. (Id. at pp. 1-11). In the first
six pages, he restates the allegations of his complaint and
recites the Rule 12(c) standard; in the remaining five pages,
he requests that the Court strike Experian's
Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is subject to
the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. See
Troice v. Greenberg Traurig, L.L.P., 921 F.3d 501,
504 (5th Cir. 2019). To overcome the motion, Asante must
plead a plausible claim for relief. See Romero v. City of
Grapevine, Tex., 888 F.3d 170, 176 (5th Cir. 2018)
(citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). A claim is plausible if it is pleaded with factual
content that allows the Court to reasonably infer that
Experian is liable for the misconduct alleged. See
Edionwe u. Bailey, 860 F.3d 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2017)
(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The Court accepts
as true the well-pleaded facts of Asante's complaint and
views those facts in the light most favorable to him. See
Midwest Feeders, Inc. v. Bank of Franklin, 886 F.3d 507,
513 (5th Cir. 2018).
judicata should ordinarily be pleaded as an affirmative
defense, not raised in a Rule 12 motion. Test Masters
Educ. Servs., Inc. v. Singh, 428 F.3d 559, 570 n.2 (5th
Cir. 2005). But the Court may enter a Rule 12 dismissal on
res judicata grounds if the elements of res judicata are
apparent from the face of the pleadings and facts that may be
judicially noticed. See Kansa Reinsurance Co. u.
Congressional Mortg. Corp. of Tex., 20 F.3d 1362, 1366
(5th Cir. 1994).
ruling on Experian's motion, the Court may consider
Asante's Baton Rouge City Court judgment because Asante
references the judgment in his complaint and the judgment is
central to his FCRA claim. See Ironshore Europe DAC v.
Schiff Hardin, L.L.P., 912 F.3d 759, 763 (5th Cir.
CHOICE OF LAW
Court applies Louisiana law to determine the preclusive
effect of a judgment rendered by a Louisiana court. See
Weaver v. Tex. Capital Bank N.A., 660 F.3d 900, 906
(5th Cir. 2011).