Burden of Proof: Sciria v. Huntington Bank

Maximum Possible Accuracy
David A. Szwak

Burden of Proof: Sciria v. Huntington Bank

Postby David A. Szwak » Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:32 pm

Sciria v. Huntington Bank,
Slip Copy, 2005 WL 3262954, N.D.Ohio, Dec 01, 2005

Claims Against Equifax
Mr. Sciria raises three claims against Equifax in his second Amended Complaint. (ECF # 27-2). [FN1] The first claim alleges that Equifax did not maintain reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of the information contained in a credit report, in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b), and that as a result Mr. Sciria suffered compensatory damages in the amount of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), plus costs and attorney fees. A credit reporting agency is not liable under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) for reporting inaccurate information, so long as the agency follows reasonable procedures to prevent such an occurrence. See, e.g., Spence v. TRW, Inc., 92 F.3d 380, 381 (6th Cir.1996); Bryant v. TRW, Inc., 689 F.2d 72, 78 (6th Cir.1982); Sepulvado v. CSC Credit Services, Inc., 158 F.3d 890, 896 (5th Cir.1998); Hauser v. Equifax, Inc., 602 F.2d 811, 814-15 (8th Cir.1979). In order to state a prima facie case for a violation, a plaintiff must show:

FN1. Equifirst argues that this Amended Complaint has not been properly filed. The Amended Complaint was attached as an Exhibit to Mr. Sciria's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (ECF # 27). Although it was not captioned as a motion for leave to file instanter, in order to provide every benefit of the doubt to the plaintiff as the non-moving party in this case, the Court will treat the Amended Complaint as having been filed at the time the Motion for Leave to do so was granted.

1. inaccurate information was included in a consumer's credit report;
2. the inaccuracy was due to the agency's failure to follow reasonable procedures;
3. the plaintiff suffered injury; and
4. the consumer's injury was caused by the inclusion of the inaccurate entry.
Philbin v. Trans Union Corp., 101 F.3d 957, 963 (3rd Cir.1996). Equifax has submitted evidence in the form of an affidavit from its Officer of Consumer Affairs that shows that it has in place reasonable procedures to prevent inaccurate disclosure of credit information. Mr. Sciria has offered no evidence, whatsoever, that would contradict this information. Therefore, he has not met his burden of showing that there is a material fact in dispute on this issue, and summary judgment on this claim is warranted.
In the Fourth Count of the Amended Complaint, Mr. Sciria alleges that Equifax violated the FCRA by failing to provide him with his credit report upon request. However, Mr. Sciria has presented no evidence showing that he was ever denied a copy of his credit report when he requested it. To the contrary, Equifax has cited to deposition transcript testimony by Mr. Sciria in which he admits he received a copy of his file in May of 2005 after he requested it; and presents an affidavit attesting that Mr. Sciria as also sent a credit disclosure upon request in September of 2005. (Sciria Depo., pg. 38, lines 23- 24; Willis Aff., ¶ 8). Mr. Sciria's Complaint also includes copies of his credit report obtained from Equifax dated December 27, 2004 and January 19, 2005, and a letter from Equifax's attorney indicating that Equifax would provide credit disclosure to Mr. Sciria whenever requested, but that due to the litigation, those disclosures would be provided through his attorney. There is absolutely no evidence, outside of this letter, which indicates that Mr. Sciria ever requested a copy of his credit report, let alone that such a request was ever refused. Therefore, Mr. Sciria has not met his burden of showing that there is a material issue of fact remaining on this claim, and summary judgment is warranted. Mr. Sciria also claims that Equifax willfully and maliciously failed to comply with the FCRA. However, as Mr. Sciria has been able to offer no evidence to support any violation of the FCRA by Equifax, his claim that the alleged violations were willful and malicious must also fail.

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