1681i[c]: Natale v. TRW

David A. Szwak

1681i[c]: Natale v. TRW

Postby David A. Szwak » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:48 pm

Natale v. TRW, Inc.
Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 1999 WL 179678
Mar 30, 1999

This is an action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act ("CCRAA"). The FCRA requires "that consumer reporting agencies adopt reasonable procedures for meeting the needs of commerce for consumer credit, personnel, insurance, and other information in a manner which is fair and equitable to the consumer, with regard to the confidentiality, accuracy, relevancy, and proper utilization of such information." 15 U.S.C. § 1681(b). "The FCRA provides for compensation in the form of actual damages and attorneys' fees if a consumer reporting agency negligently fails to comply with any provision of the FCRA." Guimond v. Trans Union Credit Information Co., 45 F.3d 1329, 1332 (9th Cir.1995) (citing 15 U.S.C. § 1681o). The FCRA also permits a consumer to recover punitive damages if the defendant's non-compliance with the Act was willful. See id. (citing 15 U.S.C. § 1681n).
B. Procedural History
Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges that defendants negligently and willfully failed to follow reasonable procedures in violation of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) (First and Second Causes of Action); negligently and willfully failed to disclose sources of credit information upon request in violation of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a)(2) (Third and Fourth Causes of Action); negligently and willfully failed to include consumer dispute statements upon request in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(c) (Fifth and Sixth Causes of Action ); and negligently and willfully failed to correct inaccuracies in credit reports in violation of the CCRAA, California Civil Code § 1785.1 et seq. (Seventh and Eighth Causes of Action). Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief (Ninth Cause of Action).
Plaintiff originally filed this action on October 6, 1997. As a result of serious statute of limitations issues, plaintiff amended his complaint for a second time in July 1998. The Second Amended Complaint states expressly that plaintiff does not seek to recover any damages for injuries which occurred prior to October 5, 1995. SAC ¶ 16. It also states that plaintiff does not seek to recover damages arising out of defendants' conduct subsequent to July 13, 1998, the date he filed his Second Amended Complaint. SAC ¶ 16.


Plaintiff has submitted evidence that in March 1998, it requested the source of allegedly "bogus" information appearing on his credit report. Trans Union has not offered any evidence that it specifically responded to this request for source information. Accordingly, judgment may not be granted as a matter of law in favor of Trans Union.
Plaintiff also offers evidence of requests for "source" information which he made subsequent to the filing of his Second Amended Complaint. As such conduct is beyond the scope of this lawsuit, such evidence has not been considered by the Court in deciding the summary judgment motion.
C. Failure to include consumer dispute statements (§ 1681i(c)--Fifth Cause of Action)
The FCRA also provides that
[w]henever a statement of a dispute is filed, unless there is reasonable grounds to believe that it is frivolous or irrelevant, the consumer reporting agency shall, in any subsequent consumer report containing the information in question, clearly note that it is disputed by the consumer and provide either the consumer's statement or a clear and accurate codification or summary thereof. *7 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(c). In order to establish liability under section 1681i(c), plaintiff must show that he disputed an item in his file and that any reinvestigation conducted by defendants did not resolve the dispute. See Guimond, 45 F.3d at 1335. Plaintiff must also show that he filed a statement of dispute, and that the statement was not included with subsequent copies of his credit report. See id.
All defendants move for summary judgment on plaintiff's Fifth and Sixth Causes of Action on the ground that plaintiff has not produced any evidence that any of them ever failed to include a statement of dispute in a consumer report. In response, plaintiff argues--without citing any specific evidence or even distinguishing among defendants--that "defendants" failed to adequately investigate and notify creditors of plaintiff's disputes. Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, however makes no claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(2), the section that requires a consumer reporting agency to investigate and notify subscribers of disputes; plaintiff's argument is thus irrelevant. The issue before the Court is whether plaintiff has submitted evidence sufficient for a trier of fact to find that each defendant failed to include in a subsequent consumer report a statement of dispute which had been filed.
As plaintiff's opposition does not identify a single instance within the statute of limitations in which any of the defendants failed to include a filed consumer dispute statement, each defendant is entitled to summary judgment on the Fifth Cause of Action.

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