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Barnum v. Equifax Information Services, LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 21, 2019

SHARON BARNUM; ROBERT SUSTRIK, and all similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiffs Sharon Barnum and Robert Sustrik sue Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Before the Court are three contested motions: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 148; (2) Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class, ECF No. 150; and (3) Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, ECF No. 154.

         As a preliminary note, this matter was originally titled Cabebe v. Equifax Information Services, LLC. The original plaintiff has been terminated from this matter and replaced with the currently named Plaintiffs. Thus, the Court instructs that the caption in this matter shall now read as reflected above.

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Jerry Cabebe sued Defendant on December 11, 2016. ECF No. 1. Three amended complaints were filed, the third of which terminated Cabebe from the matter. ECF Nos. 5, 29, 39. Plaintiffs filed the operative complaint, the Fourth Amended Complaint, on March 29, 2018. ECF No. 112. In the Fourth Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs assert two claims against Defendant: (1) a violation of the FRCA and (2) a request for declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2201 that Defendant violated FRCA. Id. Plaintiffs bring the claims on behalf of a proposed class of consumers. Id.

         Now, Defendant moves for summary judgment, and Plaintiffs move for partial summary judgment. ECF Nos. 148, 149, 154, 155, 161. Both parties opposed the competing motion and filed corresponding replies. ECF Nos. 174, 175, 173, 185, 187. Defendant also filed a sur-reply after obtaining leave to so from the Court. ECF Nos. 213, 214.

         In addition to their Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, Plaintiffs move to certify a proposed class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 23. ECF No. 150. Defendant opposed, and Plaintiffs replied. ECF Nos. 176, 178, 180, 181, 188, 189.

         III. UNDISPUTED FACTS

         The Court finds the following facts to be undisputed. As defined by the FCRA, Defendant is a credit reporting agency (“CRA”) and Plaintiffs are consumers.

         a. Defendant's Reinvestigation Procedure

         When a consumer disputes information reflected on a credit report, Defendant opens an Automated Consumer Interview System (“ACIS”) case to conduct a reinvestigation into the information provided by a furnisher. The ACIS case details the process of the reinvestigation.

         After completion of the reinvestigation, Defendant generates an electronic file containing a reinvestigation results letter and transmits the file to nonparty Fidelity National Card Services Inc. Defendant contracts with Fidelity National to complete the mailing of reinvestigation results letters to consumers. Under the contract, Fidelity National prints and mails the reinvestigation results letter to the consumer.[1] The contract governing Fidelity National's services has been amended multiple times. Defendant, however, has been unable to provide all the amendments and exhibits to the amendments.

         Further, while Defendant's procedure for responding to mailed-in consumer disputes is memorialized in its manuals, the manuals do not outline the processes or the policies in place that allow Defendant to oversee Fidelity National to ensure that the FCRA obligations are satisfied. But Defendant typically sends reinvestigation results letters to consumers automatically except in certain circumstances, e.g., when a consumer's address cannot be verified or when a ...


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