United States District Court, D. Nevada
MICHAEL J. HANNON, Plaintiff,
NORTHEAST CREDIT & COLLECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT; AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NOS. 62/67, 64)
P. GORDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
discharging a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, plaintiff Michael Hannon
became aware that several of his creditors were reporting
allegedly inaccurate information to defendant Experian
Information Solutions, Inc. (Experian), a credit reporting
agency (CRA). Hannon disputed this information, triggering
investigatory duties by Experian and the various information
furnishers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Hannon
alleges that Experian violated that statute by continuing to
report inaccurate information about him after an unreasonable
reinvestigation, causing him to suffer actual damages. In
particular, Hannon contends that the reporting of two
accounts held by JH Portfolio Debt Equities LLC (JHP) did not
reflect their discharge.
parties are familiar with the facts, so I will not repeat
them here except where necessary to resolve the motions.
Experian moves for summary judgment and Hannon moves for
partial summary judgment. Because I find that Hannon has not
shown a genuine issue of material fact on necessary elements
of his FCRA claim, I grant summary judgment for Experian.
judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, discovery
responses, and affidavits demonstrate “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a), (c). A fact is material if it “might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). An issue is genuine if “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Id.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The burden
then shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific
facts demonstrating there is a genuine issue of material fact
for trial. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212
F.3d 528, 531 (9th Cir. 2000). I view the evidence and draw
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. James River Ins. Co. v. Hebert Schenck,
P.C., 523 F.3d 915, 920 (9th Cir. 2008).
FCRA, a CRA must “conduct a reasonable
reinvestigation” upon receiving a dispute notice from a
consumer concerning the accuracy of information in a consumer
report. 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(1)(A). To state a claim for
liability under the reinvestigation provision, a plaintiff
must establish that “1) his credit files contained
inaccurate or incomplete information; 2) he directly notified
[the CRA] of the inaccuracy; 3) the dispute is not frivolous
or irrelevant; 4) [the CRA] failed to respond to the dispute;
and 5) [the] failure to reinvestigate caused [the plaintiff]
to suffer actual damages.” Taylor v. First
Advantage Background Svcs. Corp., 207 F.Supp.3d 1095,
1103 (N.D. Cal. 2016).
contends that Hannon cannot show that the information it is
reporting is inaccurate, because Hannon cannot show that the
JHP accounts were included in his discharged bankruptcy.
Experian further argues that its reinvestigation was
reasonable because it received verification from JHP that its
reporting was accurate and requested but never received from
Hannon further documentation showing the accounts were
included in the bankruptcy discharge. Finally, Experian
argues that Hannon cannot establish that its reporting caused
him any actual damages.
responds that the JHP accounts were discharged in his
bankruptcy, so including information about them that did not
reflect this discharge is patently inaccurate and materially
misleading. He further argues that Experian's
reinvestigation was unreasonable because it relied
exclusively on the automated consumer dispute verification
(ACDV) form sent to JHP, failed to notify JHP of the reason
for the dispute, and did not allow for discretionary changes
by dispute agents in the face of allegedly inaccurate
information confirmed by the furnisher. Finally, he argues
that he suffered actual damages in the form of out-of-pocket
state a claim under § 1681i, the consumer must make a
prima facie showing of inaccurate reporting. Dennis,
520 F.3d at 1069. An item in a report can be inaccurate
“because it is patently incorrect, or because it is
misleading in such a way and to such an extent that it can be
expected to adversely affect credit decisions.”
Carvalho v. Equifax Info. Svcs., LLC, 629 F.3d 876,
890 (9th Cir. 2010) (quotation omitted). Hannon argues the
JHP accounts were discharged in bankruptcy and therefore
including past due balances without any notation of discharge
was patently inaccurate and materially misleading. Experian
responds that Hannon's arguments rely on the contention
that the JHP accounts were discharged in bankruptcy, for
which Hannon never produced admissible evidence.
argues the JHP accounts are listed in the bankruptcy petition
as Bank of America credit card accounts. See ECF No.
74-6 at 24. Those accounts are identified as Bank of America
credit card accounts numbered 5222 and 094, and with claim
balances of $15, 309 and $15, 280. Id. The dispute
letter identified the disputed accounts as “JH
Portfolio Debt Equiti (MBNA America), Account No: 687 ($15,
280)” and “JH Portfolio Debt Equiti (MBNA
America), Account No: 687 ($15, 500).” Id. at
support of his argument that these Bank of America accounts
are the contested JHP accounts, Hannon cites to an Experian
webinar, news articles about Bank of America's interest
in MBNA, and a proof of claim from Hannon's bankruptcy
for a different creditor. See ECF No. 74 at 5 n.13.