Judith Chipley Testimony; Read pp.45-53; 50%-90% Error Rate

Father-Son, Mother-Daughter, Junior-Senior-Trey [Generational Designators], Common Names, Variations on Social Security Numbers and Other Mixed File Issues
David A. Szwak

Judith Chipley Testimony; Read pp.45-53; 50%-90% Error Rate

Postby David A. Szwak » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:40 pm

 1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
2 ORLANDO DIVISION

3
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
4 )
WILLIAM SHERIDAN and )
5 SHARON SHERIDAN, )
)
6 Plaintiffs, )
) CASE NO.
7 vs. ) 95-274-CIV-ORL-22
)
8 EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION )
SERVICES, INC., et al., )
9 )
Defendants. )
10 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _)

11

12 DEPOSITION OF: JUDITH CHIPLEY

13 DATE: February 12, 1996

14 TIME: 4:21 p.m. to 5:49 p.m.

15 PLACE: 1505 North Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida
16
PURSUANT TO: Notice by counsel for
17 Plaintiffs for purposes of
discovery, use at trial or
18 such other purposes as are
permitted under the Florida
19 Rules of Civil Procedure

20 BEFORE: Karen S. Hehn, RPR-RMR
Notary Public
21 State of Florida at Large

22 Pages 1 - 49

23

24
MICHAEL MUSETTA & ASSOCIATES, INC., (813) 221-3171
25 One Tampa City Center, Suite 2880, Tampa, Florida 33602

1 APPEARANCES:

2 David A. Szwak, ESQUIRE
Bodenheimer, Jones, Klotz & Simmons
3 509 Milam Street
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
4 Attorney for Plaintiffs

5 SCOTT P. GASPARD, ESQUIRE
10771 Perkins Road
6 First Floor
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70810
7 Attorney for Plaintiffs

8 CAROL GRANT, ESQUIRE
Clarke, Silverglate, Williams & Montgomery
9 2401 New World Tower
100 North Biscayne Boulevard
10 Miami, Florida 33132
Attorney for Defendant Equifax
11 Appearing by Telephone

12 JAMES M. SHULER, ESQUIRE
Kass Hodges, P.A.
13 P.O. Box 800
Tampa, Florida 33601
14 Attorney for Defendant Datafax Credit

15 KRISTI J. WHITESIDE, ESQUIRE
Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue
16 2300 Trammell Crow Center
2001 Ross Avenue
17 Dallas, Texas 75201
Attorney for Defendant TRW
18 Appearing by Telephone

19 COURTNEY WILSON, ESQUIRE
Coll, Davidson, Carter, Smith,
20 Salter & Barkett
3200 Miami Center
21 201 South Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Florida 33131-2312
22 Attorney for Defendant Trans Union
Appearing by Telephone
23

24

25

1 APPEARANCES (cont'd):

2 DALE VASH, ESQUIRE
Fowler, White, Gillen, Boggs,
3 Villareal & Banker, P.A.
P.O. Box 1438
4 Tampa, Florida 33601
Attorney for Defendant
5 Merchants Association

6

7

8 INDEX

9 DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. Szwak Page 4

10 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS. GRANT Page 44

11 CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS. WHITESIDE Page 45

12 STIPULATION Page 47

13 CERTIFICATE OF OATH Page 48

14 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE Page 49

15
EXHIBITS
16
Exhibit A
17 (Answers to Interrogatories
and Credit Reports) Page 12
18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

1 JUDITH CHIPLEY,

2 the deponent herein, being first duly sworn, was examined

3 and testified as follows:

4 DIRECT EXAMINATION

5 BY MR. Szwak:

6 Q. Miss Chipley, my name is David Szwak, and I

7 represent William and Sharon Sheridan. And the reason that

8 we requested your deposition today is to get some factual

9 information from you about your employment with Datafax and,

10 of course, as it concerns William and Sharon Sheridan.

11 Okay?

12 A. Okay.

13 Q. And I'm sure that you understand your under oath

14 here today.

15 A. Yes, I do.

16 Q. You're entitled to read and sign your deposition

17 at the conclusion of it, and you may want to visit with

18 Mr. Shuler or make that decision now or later whether you

19 want to read and sign the deposition.

20 If at any point in time you don't understand my

21 question or you need to take a break, you just let us know.

22 And you can always ask me to go back and reask the question

23 if you don't understand it. Okay?

24 A. I understand that.

25 Q. But if you respond to the question, we all have to

1 assume that you understood the question. Okay?

2 A. Got you.

3 Q. Would you give us your full name?

4 A. My full name is Judith Baker Chipley.

5 Q. And what is your current address?

6 A. 10006 North Arden -- that's A-r-d as in dog-e-n --

7 Avenue, Tampa 33612.

8 Q. And how long have you lived there?

9 A. Since April 20th of 1970.

10 Q. And are you married?

11 A. Oh, yeah.

12 Q. And what is your husband's name?

13 A. Richard.

14 Q. And what does Richard do for a living?

15 A. He builds elevators.

16 Q. And where are you currently employed?

17 A. Tampa United Methodist Center.

18 MS. GRANT: This is Carol Grant. I couldn't hear

19 that last response.

20 THE WITNESS: To which question?

21 MS. GRANT: Where are you currently employed.

22 THE WITNESS: Tampa United Methodist Center, the

23 housing management services.

24 MS. GRANT: Thank you.

25

1 BY MR. Szwak:

2 Q. And what is your title?

3 A. Well, I'm a loan processor, sales.

4 Q. And how long have you worked with Tampa United

5 Methodist?

6 A. June 1st, 1995.

7 Q. And where did you work prior to going to work for

8 Tampa Methodist?

9 A. Datafax. Well, actually by that time it was CBA

10 doing business as Datafax. And prior to that, it was

11 Florida Residential Services doing business as Datafax.

12 Q. So, you actually worked for CBA prior to --

13 A. No, no. I worked for FRSS, Florida Residential

14 Reporting Services. I said that wrong. It's FRRS. I

15 always say it wrong. Doing business as Datafax. That was

16 the company owned by Carolyn Herman.

17 Q. Did you ever work for CBA?

18 A. Yes, I did, when they bought it. That was after.

19 Q. Okay. And when did you begin working for CBA?

20 A. I don't remember the exact date that they bought

21 the company. It was in November of '94. And I left there

22 April 19th of '95.

23 Q. And why did you leave?

24 A. Basically it was because I couldn't stand to work

25 with Gary Williams anymore. Is that good enough?

1 Q. Honest it sounds. Now, what relation were you to

2 Gary Williams at Datafax?

3 A. He was -- I really don't know what his position

4 was with CBA. With Datafax, before CBA bought it out, he

5 was the vice-president. And then I don't know what his

6 title was with CBA. I really don't know. He ran the place

7 in Tampa.

8 Q. Now, when did you begin working for Datafax?

9 A. July 16th I think. 16th or 17th of 1990. It was

10 a Monday.

11 Q. And what was your initial position with Datafax?

12 A. Credit investigator.

13 Q. Had you ever worked in the credit reporting

14 industry prior to that?

15 A. No.

16 Q. In fact, what other type of jobs had you held

17 prior to working for Datafax?

18 A. I was a loan processor for AmSouth Mortgage. They

19 had several branches throughout the State of Florida.

20 That's how I got to know Carolyn Herman.

21 They closed their branches in February of '89.

22 So, I collected unemployment for six months and went to

23 baseball games. My kid plays baseball or at that time in

24 high school. He's now in college.

25 Then I went to work for -- that was in February.

1 In September of '89 I went to work for School Book Fairs,

2 who is now out of business, scheduling book fairs throughout

3 the United States. It's kind of a telemarketing sales, but

4 we didn't sell anything. Does that make sense?

5 I stood that for about five months, and I said I

6 don't want to do this anymore. And then I did some retail

7 sales for a real short period of time for Discount Trophies

8 behind the counter, and that's fun. But it doesn't pay

9 anything.

10 And then Barry Herman, who at that time was

11 co-owner with Carolyn Herman of the company, I had actually

12 gone in to talk to him because I was going to go back into

13 loan processing to get a -- see if Barry -- you know, make

14 sure he would give me a good -- what's the word I want? --

15 reference. You know, you have to give references and all

16 that. And I kind of hired myself basically is what

17 happened.

18 Q. And when you began with Datafax, they initially

19 assigned you the position of credit investigator; is that

20 correct?

21 A. Kind of credit investigator trainee. I had to be

22 taught what to do.

23 Q. And did they send you to some type of formal

24 schooling?

25 A. There is no formal schooling for that. You either

1 get it or you don't.

2 Q. They did not offer you any training through

3 associated credit bureaus or other trade associations

4 available?

5 A. No.

6 Q. So, you basically were trained on the job?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And how long did you train on the job with a

9 supervisor?

10 A. You mean to where everything that I did was

11 checked?

12 Q. Well, let me back up. When you first came to work

13 as a credit investigator, were you trained?

14 A. I worked with a trained investigator.

15 Q. Do you remember who that person was?

16 A. Sure. It was Terry Sosa.

17 Q. And how long had Terry been working there?

18 A. I don't -- oh, wait a minute. She went to work

19 for them in '88, December of '88. I remember that because I

20 used to do her evaluations. But prior to that she worked

21 for Equifax, CBI/Equifax.

22 Q. And how long did you train under Terry Sosa?

23 A. It's hard to describe. My work was checked, you

24 know. How do I do this. And it wasn't on the computer. It

25 was all on paper. And we would take the repository, which

1 is the only way I -- where the credit came up, the raw

2 credit. And we would highlight what we were keeping or make

3 notes to what we were keeping. The duplicates, we had to

4 get rid of the duplicates and make sure everything was

5 updated.

6 And it was just learning how to do that. And it's

7 really a very strange job. We tried -- I tried personally

8 to train a lot of people. Some people they either get it

9 like that or they don't get it at all. And intelligence

10 really -- of course, it plays a part. It takes a great deal

11 of common sense and just paying attention to what you're

12 doing like detail work.

13 And I don't know how -- I considered myself in

14 training the whole time I worked there. But I've always

15 been in training for whatever. You know, you learn

16 something new every day.

17 Q. Was there a specific period that you worked hand

18 in hand with Terry Sosa?

19 A. Oh, yeah.

20 Q. How long would that have been?

21 A. I guess it was about three or four weeks where

22 nothing that I did went out of that office without being

23 thoroughly checked.

24 Q. Over time you were promoted to other positions in

25 Datafax?

1 A. Yeah. It just happened.

2 Q. What sort of positions were you promoted to?

3 A. I just kind of -- I became -- I went from hourly

4 to salary to not making any bonuses. When was that? That

5 was in March of '91. And I just became the credit

6 investigator supervisor, and then I wasn't really the office

7 manager, but I was. It's just kind of hard to explain how

8 it evolved. It just happened.

9 Q. So, it's my understanding from your testimony you

10 began as a credit investigator?

11 A. Uh-huh. (Indicates affirmatively.)

12 Q. And in or about 1991 you took over some greater

13 responsibility in the company which included being the

14 credit investigator supervisor?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. And that would be a separate division, for

17 example, from customer service, correct?

18 A. Well, no, because the whole thing was customer

19 service. I was supervising the credit investigators. I did

20 credit reports. I pacified clients. When they would call

21 up and say how come I haven't got my credit report, and it's

22 been five days or five hours depending on how quickly they

23 wanted it, I found out why they didn't have it. Or if they

24 had to have it right then, I did everything I could to see

25 that it got done and got out of there, and it was correct.

1 Q. My impression is that you took on a great role of

2 many --

3 A. I'm a woman. I can handle anything.

4 Q. Okay.

5 A. I'm sorry.

6 Q. That's all right. I would like to show you what

7 has been marked as Deposition Exhibit A in this continuing

8 deposition all day, and it's the same document everyone else

9 has had an opportunity to look at. Have you, in fact, had

10 an opportunity to review that document before coming today?

11 A. Not before today. I saw it before coming in here

12 today.

13 Q. Okay. So, you had a chance prior to this

14 deposition to actually sit down and take a look at it so

15 that you would have it fresh in you mind?

16 A. Yes, I'm familiar with it.

17 Q. Okay. Let's begin with Exhibit A to that exhibit.

18 There's an exhibit behind the interrogatory responses.

19 A. Oh, you want the repository.

20 Q. Exhibit A to Exhibit A of the deposition is a

21 repository report prepared by Datafax, is it not?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And earlier today Michelle Lowery explained to us

24 somewhat how to read this report. And I want to ask you if

25 you're familiar with the preparation of this particular

1 report and if you have any specific or general recollection

2 of William and Sharon Sheridan.

3 A. Not a clue.

4 Q. Have you had an opportunity to look at all of the

5 documents attached to Exhibit A of the deposition to see if

6 you had occasion to assist in the assembling and preparing

7 of any of these documents?

8 A. This has my name on it. I notice that.

9 MR. SHULER: For the record, would you identify

10 what that is?

11 THE WITNESS: Okay. Exhibit D.

12 BY MR. Szwak:

13 Q. Okay.

14 A. And it has investigated by Judy at the top,

15 ordered by Rosanna with several asterisks after it. But let

16 me see. I need to see what date this was completed. That

17 would help me.

18 Is that something '95? Does that say 4/6/95

19 there? It's very difficult to read that. It's something

20 '95. It's in the year of '95.

21 MR. SHULER: It looks like it.

22 MS. GRANT: This is Carol Grant. What page number

23 is the witness referring to?

24 THE WITNESS: Page 3 of Exhibit D, very bottom it

25 says end of report and then there's a date, time.

1 MR. Szwak: It's my understanding, Carol, so that

2 we're clear on what she's referring to, it's my

3 understanding that this was a recreated report from archived

4 information at Datafax which represents a consumer -- which

5 Exhibit D represents the updated consumer report from

6 November of 1994; is that correct?

7 THE WITNESS: Yes.

8 BY MR. Szwak:

9 Q. Okay. Now, Exhibit C which also bears your name

10 on the first page of Exhibit C of Deposition Exhibit A bears

11 the name investigated by Judy which would be the first

12 report prepared in November of 1994?

13 A. No, it is not. No, it is not. Because see it's

14 4/6/95 end of report. 4/6/95. That's when this was

15 printed. This is a supplemental report. This is a

16 supplemental report.

17 Q. Okay. So, my understanding is, from your

18 testimony, that Exhibit C is a supplemental report to

19 Exhibit D?

20 A. No, no, no. I'll tell you. Well, actually --

21 what's that say? 9:53:32. That's Page 3 Exhibit D.

22 MR. Szwak: Jim, I think the confusion -- can

23 everyone hear me on the phone? I think the confusion with

24 the exhibits concerns the reproduction of those two reports

25 that are Exhibit C and D of Deposition Exhibit A.

1 BY MR. Szwak:

2 Q. Let me go back and ask you a question. Would it

3 be accurate to say that Exhibit C to Deposition Exhibit A is

4 actually a reproduction on April 6, 1995 at 10:03 in the

5 morning of a prior credit report which was prepared in

6 November of 1994?

7 A. I don't know. The original report was prepared

8 and completed 11/10/94. This particular -- when the work

9 was done I can't tell you. This particular report was

10 printed 4/6/95 at 10 something, 10:23. That's Exhibit C.

11 And Exhibit D is 9:53.

12 They printed it out twice for some reason. I do

13 not know why. 104742 is the report number. But it's a

14 supplemental report. This is also 104742. They keep the

15 same report number when it's a supplemental report. You can

16 always tell a supplemental report it doesn't have a price on

17 it. Only the original, the first report, has a price on it.

18 MR. SHULER: For the record, the witness was

19 pointing to the first page of Exhibit C in the top block

20 where it says price underneath investigated by.

21 MR. Szwak: Okay.

22 THE WITNESS: Do you have a copy of the original

23 report done 11/10/94?

24 MR. Szwak: We do.

25 THE WITNESS: Oh, I saw that.

1 BY MR. Szwak:

2 Q. Let me back up for a moment. In your position as

3 credit investigator or manager --

4 A. Supervisor.

5 Q. I'm sorry. Supervisor. Would there be occasions

6 when your credit investigators would come to you with

7 certain questions?

8 A. Yes.

9 Q. Were there some sort of policies or procedures in

10 place whereby they were instructed to come to you with

11 certain type of problems?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. And what type of problems would those entail?

14 A. Anything that looked weird. Any time they had a

15 question on how to handle something. Or they called and

16 would say do I have to call on this? And generally whenever

17 they would ask that, I'd say, yes, you have to call on it.

18 Q. And so it would not be uncommon for one of your

19 investigators to find something that was unique on a credit

20 report or a repository report, and they would bring the

21 problem to you and say I don't really know how to handle

22 this, tell me what I should do, Miss Chipley; is that

23 correct?

24 A. That is not unique at all.

25 Q. Now, as part of your job as the credit

1 investigator supervisor, would you frequently reassess

2 accounts or change the status of the accounts, say, from R-1

3 to R-9 depending upon the circumstances?

4 A. I don't quite understand what you mean by that.

5 Q. Let me give you an example. If one of your

6 investigators had come to you with a trade line by American

7 Express and suggested to you that there was something

8 strange about it. It had a paid by settlement notation but

9 a positive status or an unrated status. And they confronted

10 you with this situation and said I just don't know what to

11 do. What would you have instructed them to do?

12 A. If it was an unrated status, you leave it unrated.

13 That's generally what a settlement is is unrated. If

14 American Express was reporting it as a 1, then -- well, in

15 the first place I'd look at it to make sure that all the

16 bureaus were reporting the same thing. Do you understand

17 what I'm saying?

18 Like if you pulled two -- say you pulled all three

19 bureaus. American Express reports to all three bureaus. If

20 only one bureau is reporting it, something's goofy. It's as

21 simple as that. Something's goofy. And American Express

22 will not tell you anything. So, the first thing you do is

23 you call your applicant and talk to them and interview them.

24 Q. Now, let me take this a step further. If one of

25 your credit investigators had come to you with an American

1 Express account with a truncated security account number, a

2 five digit number, and it showed paid through settlement or

3 paid by settlement, and one credit bureau had listed it as

4 unrated, and the other credit bureau had listed it as a

5 derrogatory account, would that be considered conflicting

6 information to you?

7 A. I would make every attempt to find out just what

8 the correct information is. You get to know different

9 creditors. American Express generally did not rate -- and

10 I'm using American Express -- an unrated account. They

11 generally -- if it was paid in full by settlement, they

12 usually rated it a 9, but that was not always the case.

13 Q. Okay.

14 A. There's just too many variables there. Any time

15 you get anything like that, you pick up the phone. You talk

16 to the applicant. Ask them about it. Because if it's

17 coming up, especially if they've had credit before or

18 credit's been pulled, which you see the inquiries, they know

19 it's there.

20 You pick up the phone, and you talk to them and

21 say what kind of problem are you having? Do you have an

22 American Express account? They say yes. Are you having a

23 problem with it? Well, I've had them say I had a problem

24 with a billing, but it's been taken care of.

25 Then you get them to call American Express with

1 their account number and tell them that they can talk to me.

2 And then it's cool. You call them and you talk to them and

3 get it straightened out. And it takes about 90 days to get

4 it off your credit report if they're telling you the truth.

5 Q. Right. And, if you could, would you please review

6 Exhibit A to the Deposition Exhibit A, and I would refer you

7 to Page 6 of that document.

8 A. Are you talking again about the repository?

9 Q. Yes, Page 6 of the first repository.

10 A. All right.

11 MR. Szwak: Actually, Jim, if you would show her

12 also Page 5 because this is where the two accounts were

13 shown.

14 What we're looking at, for those of you on the

15 phone, we're looking at Page 5 and Page 6 of Exhibit A of

16 Deposition Exhibit A.

17 BY MR. Szwak:

18 Q. And, Miss Chipley, I would direct your attention

19 to the American Express reporting by Equifax Credit at the

20 bottom of Page 5 with a truncated security account number of

21 37190. Can you tell me -- can you decode that reporting for

22 me and tell me how that was reported by Equifax to Datafax?

23 A. Well, something's wrong with that to begin with.

24 Okay. That's how it was reported, but it's only a trade

25 line on CBI, and this is CBI. You can tell because if you

1 look in the top left-hand corner, the subscriber code has

2 the two letters in the middle. That makes it CBI.

3 It's an individual account. It's not the same

4 account as the next two. It's a different account.

5 Q. Okay.

6 A. And it says settlement accepted, and the date of

7 last activity was 4 of '89. Open 10 of '87. But there's

8 only one. TRW isn't reporting it. Hold it. Yes, it is.

9 Yes, it is. I'm sorry. My mistake. Down here.

10 Q. You're referring to Page 6 of --

11 A. I'm referring to Page 6, paid in full through

12 settlement.

13 MR. SHULER: For the record, you're pointing at

14 something. Would you describe it?

15 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry.

16 MR. SHULER: That's fine, but go ahead and say

17 what you're pointing at as you're talking to him.

18 THE WITNESS: Okay. Page 6 third trade line

19 down,. American Express is the same account as the one on

20 the bottom of Page 5.

21 BY MR. Szwak:

22 Q. These are just reported by the two different

23 credit bureaus, one by Equifax and one by TRW?

24 A. Right.

25 Q. Would you agree with me that the Equifax reporting

1 of the account is not derrogatory?

2 A. No, I disagree.

3 Q. And what is derogatory about the Equifax

4 reporting?

5 A. It doesn't have -- it has -- there's -- it has the

6 same thing that TRW has. It says settlement accepted across

7 the top. This TRW says paid in full through settlement.

8 Okay. Same thing. Settlement accepted, paid in full. They

9 both have zero balances. This is a -- it's rated a 0 with

10 nothing after it, 0 --. TRW is the same thing.

11 Q. Can you explain to me why --

12 A. That would be unrated.

13 Q. The Equifax rating would be unrated, correct?

14 A. So would the TRW. There's no rating there.

15 Q. Is there a term used at Datafax where a trade line

16 can be described as being free?

17 A. Free?

18 Q. Are you familiar with the word free as describing

19 a trade line which is derrogatory in rating?

20 A. Free?

21 Q. Yes, ma'am.

22 A. That's a new one on me.

23 Q. Okay. So, you've never heard that word before?

24 A. No.

25 Q. Okay. Are you familiar with the CRIS software

1 system that's used?

2 A. Yes, very familiar.

3 Q. And how long had you used CRIS software?

4 A. Since the day we got it. January 6th of 1992.

5 Worst day of my life. Go ahead.

6 Q. Did you experience a number of problems with the

7 CRIS software?

8 A. At first until we learned how to do it, you know,

9 of course, we did.

10 Q. And you obtained that software in 1992?

11 A. January 6th is when we went on-line.

12 Q. So, you worked with this software every day as

13 part of your job, correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And it's my understanding that the TRW trade line

16 appearing on Page 6 of Exhibit A of Deposition Exhibit A

17 appears in bold with a lower case f designating that it came

18 from a particular file that was combined to prepare this

19 report. And that because it is bold that that designates

20 that, through either TRW and/or the CRIS system, that that

21 is a derogatory account?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Now, it's also my understanding that at the bottom

24 of Page 5 there is another reporting by American Express

25 through the Equifax system which does not appear in bold and

1 which does not appear with a lower case file notation

2 because it is not a derogatory rating but, in fact, an

3 unrated account. Would that be accurate to say?

4 A. Yes, but the thing of it is Equifax, the way they

5 do their ratings, an unrated account is not considered

6 derogatory, and TRW thinks an unrated account is considered

7 derogatory. Go figure.

8 Q. So, we have two different companies using two

9 different policies and procedures where it concerns unrated

10 accounts; is that correct?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. And would this be a situation that frequently

13 occurred where it concerned unrated accounts?

14 A. You don't get that many unrated accounts. You get

15 them, but -- where the problem arises on this particular

16 case is because there's six months reviewed here. There's

17 no months reviewed here. Wait a minute. Again six months

18 reviewed on the CBI bottom of Page 5. TRW, third trade

19 line, Page 6, there's no months reviewed. That's the first

20 figure after the rating.

21 Q. Wouldn't it be also accurate to state that when

22 American Express closes an account that it becomes unrated

23 as reported to the credit bureaus?

24 A. It depends on -- it depends on what status the

25 account was in when they closed it. If it was a collection

1 account, they could leave it as a paid collection. This was

2 paid in full as settlement. It was unrated.

3 Q. And, again, I'm simply referring you to my

4 understanding that when American Express closes an account,

5 and it is paid that it becomes an unrated account, and I'm

6 asking you if that is also your understanding.

7 A. I don't understand what you're saying. I really

8 don't.

9 Q. In your experience as a credit investigator and as

10 a credit investigator supervisor in cases involving American

11 Express Company TRS when you were confronted with an unrated

12 American Express account that was paid in full or closed and

13 paid in full, wasn't that usually an unrated account?

14 A. No, no. A paid in full by settlement would be an

15 unrated account. The only other unrated accounts that I

16 have seen is a brand-new account.

17 Q. Which would be too new to rate?

18 A. It's too new to rate. But not -- I've seen many

19 accounts closed, American Express and others, and it just

20 says closed, and they're rated a 1 or -- if it's a paid --

21 well, it will say paid collection or something like that.

22 Many of the bureaus -- many of the bureaus now are not using

23 a rating system.

24 Q. Now, the rating system, in fact, is something that

25 the bureaus created, is it not?

1 A. I don't know.

2 Q. Well, I'm sorry. I'm going from what you said.

3 A. As far as I know, that's the way this comes up.

4 That's what I see.

5 Q. It's my understanding from your testimony that

6 what we have here is two different credit bureaus who

7 uniformly have adopted two different procedures for handling

8 unrated accounts. Would that be an accurate statement in

9 your experience?

10 A. Well, see the problem is American Express or any

11 company they report to the credit bureaus. It's all -- and

12 I don't quite understand it. I know it's done on tape. But

13 it still all has to be entered. It all has to be -- it

14 depends on who's doing the entering, who's entering the

15 information. Somebody has to enter it. And it depends on

16 if somebody at TRW is sharper or not as sharp as somebody at

17 CBI.

18 Q. I understand that.

19 A. The same information can be entered different

20 ways.

21 Q. I understand, but that really does not answer my

22 question. And my question was -- and I want to make sure

23 that you understand it -- it's my understanding from your

24 testimony here today that in your experience concerning

25 unrated accounts that TRW and Equifax have adopted different

1 procedures for how to rate as positive or derogatory certain

2 unrated accounts such as an American Express account shown

3 on the bottom of Page 5 as opposed to the third trade line

4 on Page 6 of Exhibit A of Deposition Exhibit A?

5 A. I understand what you're saying now. I think you

6 don't understand what the CRIS system was. It's my

7 understanding that in the CRIS system that if there's an O

8 with nothing after it, as there is -- that American Express

9 is an open account. That's why it's an O.

10 It's the bottom of Page 5 with nothing after it.

11 And then months rating was zeros after that. Okay. You see

12 how that is? It's rating for six months.

13 Because the CRIS system, the CRIS system, not the

14 bureaus, the way the system was set up, because it had a

15 monthly rating there, it didn't print this in bold.

16 Obviously I did not explain that clearly.

17 Q. When you describe -- and you're referring now to

18 the Equifax reporting?

19 A. To the Equifax reporting. The CRIS system did not

20 print that in bold.

21 Q. Because it did not have a monthly rating under the

22 30, 60, or 90?

23 A. No. Because the Equifax, bottom of Page 5, you

24 see where there's a zero, couple of dashes, and then it says

25 a 6 0 0 0. The six it's rating it for six months with zeros

1 after that.

2 If you look at the TRW, it's rating -- it's not

3 doing anything. There's just zero and the dash, and there's

4 no months reviewed.

5 Q. Okay.

6 A. When there's no months reviewed, it flashes it.

7 Just because it's in bold doesn't mean it's derogatory.

8 Sometimes you'll get one that is. Sometimes you get one

9 that isn't. That was the CRIS system. That had nothing to

10 do really in the printing of the bold. It was dumb.

11 Q. I want to make sure that I understand this. It's

12 your testimony that when a trade line prints in bold on a

13 Datafax repository credit report that it did not always mean

14 that that was derogatory?

15 A. Most of the time it meant it was derogatory.

16 That's when the printer was working.

17 MR. Szwak: I think I'd like to take a break for a

18 moment if that's okay with everyone.

19 MR. SHULER: Sure.

20 (Brief recess taken.)

21 BY MR. Szwak:

22 Q. It's been a long day. I'm sorry.

23 A. That's okay.

24 Q. I just needed a little bit of water. At the time

25 that we took a break we were discussing the American Express

1 trade lines in Exhibit A which is the July 1994 Datafax

2 repository report.

3 A. No. Oh, yes, it is. I'm sorry. My mistake.

4 Q. It is the July 1994 repository report?

5 A. Yes. I'm sitting here looking right at the date.

6 Yes.

7 Q. And I want to be clear about something. Is it

8 your testimony that you know or do not know whether or not

9 TRW had reported the American Express account number 37190

10 as a derogatory status trade line in their report to Datafax

11 which was used in the compilation of their July 1994

12 repository report?

13 A. I would say that was derogatory.

14 Q. Okay. So, from what you can tell from this

15 report, TRW had reported it as a derogatory status trade

16 line?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Now, if one of your credit investigators had come

19 to you with an American Express account, and there was

20 something that appeared unusual about it or there was

21 conflicting information. Say one bureau had reported it

22 unrated, and another bureau had reported it as a derogatory

23 account. What would be your procedures for handling that

24 situation and deciding how to rate it on a mortgage report?

25 A. That's a good question. It would usually go as an

1 unrated. See unrated is considered derogatory. See that's

2 what's confusing me. You're saying they're either reporting

3 it as derogatory or unrated. Lenders consider unrated,

4 except in the case of a brand-new account, as derogatory.

5 Paid in full through settlement and rated an OU is

6 considered derogatory. That's what's confusing me.

7 Q. Okay. And where did -- or let me strike that and

8 ask you this. Who has suggested that an unrated account

9 would be a derogatory account to you? Have you read this in

10 a journal or credit book or has someone advised you that an

11 unrated account, in fact, means a derogatory account?

12 A. Again, if it's unrated, because it's a brand-new

13 account that just opened, no, that's not derogatory. If

14 it's rated a U or an unrated account that the lender just --

15 the creditor will not rate it because it's paid in full by

16 settlement, it's just derogatory.

17 Q. Okay. Now, are you stating your opinion or are

18 you stating --

19 A. That's basically what I was taught.

20 Q. Do you recall who taught you this information?

21 A. I've known that since I was working as a loan

22 processor, and it would come up on credit reports, and we

23 would question it because we didn't like an unrated account.

24 Q. And what I'm asking you is it's your personal

25 opinion that an unrated account is a derogatory reporting?

1 A. Again, if it is an account that has been in

2 existence for a while, a long time, not a new account, if it

3 is unrated by the creditor, such as in this case American

4 Express, there is no rating, then it is considered by

5 lenders and we just -- Carolyn, who owned the place, it was

6 a derog.

7 Q. Okay. So, Carolyn considered it to be derogatory

8 and what lenders?

9 A. All of the lenders.

10 Q. So, all of the lenders of --

11 A. Our clients.

12 Q. All of the clients of Datafax considered an

13 unrated account to mean that it's derogatory if it had been

14 in existence for sometime?

15 A. Well, when we get -- I'm sure. I don't know. I

16 don't remember. I looked at that, but I don't really

17 remember.

18 MR. SHULER: What are you referring to when you

19 say that?

20 THE WITNESS: The credit report, the copy of the

21 credit report.

22 MR. SHULER: Exhibit H?

23 THE WITNESS: Exhibit H. Sorry. American Express

24 I'm assuming, but I would have to look at it. The way I

25 would do it is the trade line and OU. There would be no

1 zeros after it, and it would be paid in full through

2 settlement.

3 You don't pay in full through settlement unless

4 they're yelling at you for some reason or other. Get it

5 paid or else. And you decide to settle for a portion of the

6 balance. American Express did not get all their money. But

7 it's a zero balance, and they did not rate it as a

8 collection. Many times it would be rated. It's paid. They

9 settled. They were being nice guys.

10 BY MR. Szwak:

11 Q. Have you ever had any communications with America

12 Express Company TRS with regard to William and Sharon

13 Sheridan's account number 37190?

14 A. Not to my knowledge. And that would be just his

15 account. It wouldn't be hers. That's an individual

16 account.

17 Q. Now, I believe a little earlier you were

18 discussing your role as a supervisor in terms of assessing

19 problems that came up in the course of preparing a mortgage

20 report when your credit investigators had a problem; isn't

21 that correct?

22 A. Uh-huh. (Indicates affirmatively.)

23 Q. And I believe that you testified -- and I'm asking

24 you if you did -- about the percentage of problems that you

25 had with regard to inaccurate credit information?

1 A. Oh, lots.

2 Q. Lots?

3 A. They wouldn't have needed a company, a third party

4 bureau, if the credit information was correct.

5 Q. Now, what do you mean when you say that?

6 A. I mean the bureaus. Everybody should have their

7 credit pulled once a year to make sure that the information

8 on it is correct. Because I would venture to say at the

9 very, very conservative, very, very barest minimum, 50

10 percent of them are wrong. And it's probably closer to 90

11 percent. And God help you if you have a common name.

12 Q. Let me see if I'm understanding your testimony

13 correctly. It is your testimony based upon your experience

14 in working in the credit industry since --

15 A. I was there almost five years.

16 Q. Almost five years. That in the day-to-day

17 operation of Datafax Credit Services and in handling affairs

18 that at least 50 percent of all credit reports contained

19 inaccurate information?

20 A. Yeah. Yes.

21 Q. And that you have further suggested that it may be

22 as high as 90 percent of all credit reports?

23 A. If you have an extremely common name or if you're

24 a junior, senior, second, first.

25 Q. Now, we're talking specifically about William

1 Sheridan in this case, and I'll represent to you that

2 William Sheridan's father is also William Sheridan.

3 A. He's got a problem. It's as simple as that.

4 Q. And I want to ask you first do you recall handling

5 the preparation or do you recall overseeing the preparation

6 of a Datafax report in November of 1994 that concerned

7 Mr. or Mrs. Sheridan?

8 A. No, I don't. I'm sorry.

9 Q. The appearance of your name as the investigator on

10 the report does not bring any recollection to you?

11 A. I doubt seriously that I was the investigator.

12 Q. Now, if Mr. Sheridan -- and, again, I'm

13 representing to you that Mr. Sheridan is going to testify

14 that he contacted your company about inaccuracies in a

15 mortgage report.

16 A. Uh-huh. (Indicates affirmatively.)

17 MR. SHULER: Please say yes or no.

18 THE WITNESS: Yes. I'm sorry.

19 BY MR. Szwak:

20 Q. Would it have been your standard practice and

21 procedures to convey disputed information to TRW or Equifax

22 if it were contained in reports that you received from them?

23 A. TRW, Equifax, Trans Union, even though Trans Union

24 had nothing to do with this report, the borrower, the

25 applicant, in this case Mr. Sheridan, would have to contact

1 them. I mean we could call them. And they would say we're

2 not talking to you. Have them talk to us.

3 Q. Okay.

4 A. We were just a third party. We could only change

5 for mortgage purposes, and we better have documentation

6 before we change it.

7 Q. So, it is my understanding from your testimony

8 that, even though you may have received inaccurate

9 information from TRW and Equifax, and that you were in the

10 process of assisting the applicant, in this case the

11 Sheridans, to correct inaccurate information on a mortgage

12 report, that you had little ability, if any, to have

13 meaningful contact with TRW or Equifax?

14 A. That is correct.

15 Q. And was that your choice or was that TRW and

16 Equifax's choice?

17 A. That was TRW and Equifax's choice.

18 Q. Now, your inability to communicate with TRW and

19 Equifax, what impact did that have on your ability to

20 reconcile credit information contained in the mortgage

21 reports? Did it make it more difficult?

22 A. Oh, yes.

23 Q. Did it often result in inaccurate information

24 remaining on the mortgage report throughout the protracted

25 transaction?

1 A. We would do everything we could to correct it, but

2 we -- and many times we could remove things because we had

3 documentation in our file, written documentation, or a

4 verbal from somebody that we had their name and their

5 address, all their information as to how to contact them.

6 But we always had to tell the client, the

7 applicant, or like Mr. Sheridan I'm referring to as the

8 borrower or the applicant, we always had to tell them this

9 does not correct your national bureau. We have no control

10 over that. You must contact the national bureau in order to

11 get it removed from your credit report or to get it

12 corrected. And it will take 90 days minimum.

13 Q. Now, I want to refer your attention to Exhibit H

14 which I believe -- or let me ask you to identify that

15 document. What is that document?

16 A. It's a supplemental report. It's Sharon Sheridan

17 and William Sheridan's credit report dated 11/10. It was

18 initially completed 11/10/94. This was printed 2/7/95.

19 This is a supplemental report.

20 Q. That's a supplemental report which is an

21 archived -- it was an archived copy reproduced in February

22 of '95?

23 A. Yes.

24 MS. GRANT: This is Carol Grant. I'm sorry. What

25 letter are you referring to?

1 THE WITNESS: H.

2 MS. GRANT: Thank you.

3 BY MR. Szwak:

4 Q. Now, there is a designated number next to

5 investigated by, number 94. Do you have any information

6 about who the investigator number 94 would be?

7 A. That is Michelle Lowery.

8 Q. Okay. Now, earlier in the day I'll represent to

9 you that Michelle Lowery had forgotten her code number at

10 Datafax, and that's why we want to make certain that number

11 94 is, in fact, Michelle Lowery.

12 A. It is.

13 MR. Szwak: Of course, for the record, Jim, we

14 would reserve the right to redepose her upon additional

15 information or documents. So, we may need to get together

16 with her in the future upon this information.

17 BY MR. Szwak:

18 Q. Now, in the documents which have been produced to

19 us, and again I'm referring back to Exhibit C and D of

20 Exhibit A of the deposition.

21 A. The repository?

22 Q. No. I'm referring to Exhibit C and D which are

23 actually the Datafax credit reports.

24 A. Okay. Yes.

25 Q. On Page 2 of Exhibit C there is a Wexler & Wexler

1 trade line which is about six trade lines down.

2 A. Lord of mercy. Who did that?

3 Q. Can you decode that information for me and tell me

4 what that represents?

5 A. I have no clue as to why it is there. It says

6 unpaid collection for Sam's Club, Wexler & Wexler, and then

7 the phone number is there. Account deleted from file per

8 somebody's name. It's hard to read this copy. Not "there"

9 account. And the phone number after that. And there

10 obviously is spelled wrong.

11 Q. Do you have any recollection of handling this

12 Wexler & Wexler account?

13 A. No, I didn't do it. Something like that I just

14 think I would remember. And I know how to spell their.

15 Q. Now, if a collection account appeared on a

16 consumer's mortgage report and they disputed it to you, you

17 would have no problem picking up the phone and calling, for

18 example, Wexler & Wexler to ask them?

19 A. Not at all.

20 Q. And if you received information, you would, of

21 course, delete it?

22 A. (Indicating affirmatively.)

23 Q. Can you explain to me your procedures for handling

24 disputed public records data?

25 A. That was a little bit more difficult. You decode

1 it. And you call -- now, in this particular instance -- and

2 this, again, is in this particular instance. In looking at

3 the repository there should have been considerably more work

4 done before the public records were ever printed because

5 it's only showing on one. It's only showing on TRW.

6 Q. Okay.

7 A. The public record. It should be on both of them.

8 Public records are reported on all of them. Let me show you

9 what I mean.

10 Q. If you would, please. Which exhibit are you

11 referring to?

12 A. The repository.

13 MS. GRANT: This is Carol Grant. I'm sorry. It's

14 a little difficult when we're on the telephone. When you're

15 referring to repository, is that Exhibit A attached as

16 Exhibit A to the interrogatory answers?

17 MR. SHULER: Yeah. We're trying to get them

18 sorted out here.

19 MS. GRANT: Okay.

20 THE WITNESS: Yes, Exhibit A.

21 MS. GRANT: And that's what you refer to as the

22 repository?

23 THE WITNESS: Exhibit A and Exhibit B are the

24 repositories. It looks like -- oh, no, this is the 9th and

25 this is the 13th.

1 MS. GRANT: Right. Okay.

2 THE WITNESS: On Exhibit B, Page 8, where it says

3 public record, Nassau County, et cetera, this is a TRW trade

4 line. It is only showing once. It should have shown in

5 Equifax. It should have -- it doesn't make sense. Public

6 records are reported to all of the bureaus. If you pulled

7 Trans Union, it should have shown three times. With Equifax

8 and TRW it shows twice.

9 BY MR. Szwak:

10 Q. Let me ask you if --

11 A. I mean it should show twice. It's only showing

12 once. There's something wrong.

13 Q. Would it surprise you to learn that that judgment

14 or tax lien was actually against Bill Sheridan's father?

15 A. Not at all. Not at all.

16 Q. Do you frequently have public records information

17 attributed to the wrong person?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. Particularly when it's a father/son,

20 junior/senior?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. Junior/the third?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Miss Chipley, are you familiar with a software

25 called Exchange that is used in the mortgage reporting

1 industry?

2 A. No.

3 MR. Szwak: Why don't we take a couple more

4 minutes because I only have a few more questions. For those

5 of you who are wondering, I don't have too many more

6 questions, but I do need a couple of minutes just to make

7 sure I've gotten everything covered. That way we don't

8 inconvenience you.

9 MR. SHULER: We'll take five.

10 (Brief recess taken.)

11 BY MR. Szwak:

12 Q. Miss Chipley, I want to direct your attention to

13 Page 8 of Exhibit A to Deposition Exhibit A, and there is a

14 Nassau County judgment/tax lien which is noted on Page 8.

15 Do you see what I'm referring to?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. And, according to this report, would it be

18 accurate to say that that particular item appears in this

19 repository report as a result of TRW file which was

20 delivered on July 13th, 1994 at 10:14 in the morning as

21 shown on Page 2 of Exhibit A, a document of Deposition

22 Exhibit A?

23 A. I can't tell what time it is.

24 Q. Based upon Page 2 of Exhibit A of Deposition

25 Exhibit A --

1 A. I've got 7/13/94, something 38 and 24 seconds. I

2 can't --

3 Q. Which Exhibit are you referring to?

4 A. Are we on Exhibit A? We're on Exhibit A.

5 Where are we looking? Oh, okay. I'm sorry.

6 Q. Would it be accurate to say that the little f

7 under the multiple ID section next to the Nassau County

8 judgment/tax lien on Page 8 of Exhibit A of Deposition

9 Exhibit A corresponds to the TRW file produced on July 13,

10 1994 at 10:14?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Okay. Which means that that particular item, that

13 public records item, would have resulted on this report

14 because of TRW?

15 A. Absolutely.

16 Q. Now, let me ask you to refer to Exhibit B of the

17 Deposition Exhibit A as it relates to the same Nassau County

18 judgment/tax lien appearing on Page 8 of that exhibit.

19 Would that again be as a result of the TRW reporting with

20 regard to William Sheridan?

21 A. On 11/9/94 at 12:21; is that what you're saying?

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Okay. Now, the collection item directly above

25 the Nassau County judgment as shown on Page 8 of Exhibit B

1 of Deposition Exhibit A is a collection item showing Sam's

2 Club. Do you see that item?

3 A. Yes, I do.

4 Q. Now, can you tell me which file that reporting by

5 Equifax corresponds to?

6 A. No.

7 Q. And do you know of any reason why you cannot tell

8 me where that collection item came from other than to say it

9 came from Equifax?

10 A. I have no way. There's no way to tell where that

11 came from.

12 Q. But what is clear to you is that it did come from

13 Equifax?

14 A. That it came from Equifax.

15 Q. And I believe we discussed this, but would it

16 surprise you to learn that that collection item is

17 attributable to some third William Sheridan unconnected in

18 any way with my clients?

19 A. No, it doesn't surprise me at all.

20 Q. I notice that you're laughing, and you've laughed

21 a couple of other times during this deposition about the

22 fact that these errors seem to be very common to you.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. And I don't want to harp on this, but I think it's

25 important that based upon your testimony, that between 50 to

1 90 percent of all consumer reports which were produced to

2 you by TRW, Trans Union, and/or Equifax contained inaccurate

3 information?

4 A. Yes.

5 MR. WILSON: I object to the form of the question.

6 MS. GRANT: I object as well. I believe that

7 mischaracterizes her earlier testimony.

8 MS. WHITESIDE: I'd object as well.

9 BY MR. Szwak:

10 Q. Well, I'd like to ask you. Did I mischaracterize

11 your testimony in any way?

12 A. No.

13 Q. So, everything that I just repeated to you in the

14 form of my question was completely accurate as to what

15 you've testified?

16 A. In my opinion, yes.

17 MR. WILSON: I object to the form of the question.

18 MR. Szwak: Okay. What is the basis of the

19 objection?

20 MR. WILSON: The basis of the objection is it's

21 not a proper question to ask the witness. What you

22 understand she testified to. The court reporter is taking

23 down what she testified to.

24 MR. Szwak: Okay. Just for purposes of clarity of

25 the record, there was an objection to the form of the

1 question to her prior question in which I clarified my

2 question, and she responded to it. I don't believe that's

3 an objection to the form of a second question. Anyway, the

4 record speaks for itself as does her testimony.

5 MS. GRANT: This is Carol Grant, and I also object

6 to the form. And I'll rely on the record to accurately

7 reflect the witness's previous testimony, but with that

8 said, you can go ahead and answer the question.

9 MR. Szwak: I think she already has, and I

10 finished my cross-examination reserving my right to depose

11 her at a later date in the event we obtain additional

12 documents that would be considered relevant and that you

13 would need to testify about.

14 MR. SHULER: Any cross-examination?

15 MR. WILSON: I don't have any questions.

16 MS. GRANT: I have a couple. Kristi?

17 MS. WHITESIDE: Give me a second. I think I may

18 have a couple.

19 CROSS-EXAMINATION

20 BY MS. GRANT:

21 Q. Okay. Miss Chipley, my name is Carol Grant, and I

22 represent Equifax/CBI.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. How are you?

25 A. Tired.

1 Q. Well, I'm only going to keep you for a few

2 minutes. I just have a couple of questions specific to my

3 client Equifax/CBI. Okay?

4 A. Okay.

5 Q. Can you tell me have you had any contact with

6 Equifax or CBI in connection with the Sheridans' mortgage

7 application?

8 A. No.

9 MS. GRANT: Okay. That's all the questions that I

10 have.

11 THE WITNESS: Okay.

12 MR. GASPARD: Kristi?

13 MS. WHITESIDE: Just one moment, please.

14 CROSS-EXAMINATION

15 BY MS. WHITESIDE:

16 Q. Miss Chipley, my name is Kristi Whiteside, and I

17 represent TRW.

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. I just have a few real quick questions. You said

20 earlier that you had little ability to have meaningful

21 contact with TRW. Did you ever contact TRW with regard to

22 the Sheridans' consumer credit report?

23 A. No.

24 Q. Have you ever attempted to contact TRW?

25 A. No.

1 Q. Also is it correct --

2 A. To the best of my recollection.

3 MR. Szwak: Are we referring to the Sheridans or

4 just in general?

5 THE WITNESS: To the Sheridans.

6 MR. SHULER: Was your question in general or with

7 respect to the Sheridans?

8 MS. WHITESIDE: With respect to the Sheridans.

9 MR. SHULER: Okay.

10 BY MS. WHITESIDE:

11 Q. Ma'am, also is it correct that the CRIS system

12 decides if a trade line should be bolded or not bolded?

13 A. That is correct, to the best of my knowledge.

14 Q. Okay. And that is not determined by TRW to the

15 best of your knowledge?

16 A. Oh, yeah, that's not determined by TRW.

17 Q. Okay. Finally, when you stated earlier that TRW

18 reported the American Express account as a derogatory

19 account and correct me if I'm mischaracterizing your

20 testimony.

21 MR. SHULER: We're going to turn to those pages in

22 Exhibits A and B. Give us just a second. Page 6 in Exhibit

23 A and Page 6 in Exhibit B.

24 BY MS. WHITESIDE:

25 Q. Did you mean that TRW reported information that,

1 in your opinion, you considered derogatory?

2 A. Oh, yes, I considered it derogatory.

3 Q. Okay. Earlier you stated that TRW --

4 A. And so do the lenders consider it derogatory.

5

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