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Leoni v. Experian Information Solutions Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 26, 2019

DAVID LEONI, and all similarly situated[1] individuals, Plaintiffs,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff David Leoni (“Leoni” or “Plaintiff”) sues Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian” or “Defendant”) for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. Before the Court are several motions/appeals: Plaintiff’s Appeal of the Magistrate Judge’s October 9, 2018 Order, ECF No. 89, Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 90, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 98, Plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification, ECF No. 94, Plaintiff’s Motions to Seal, ECF Nos. 92, 96, 117, Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike, ECF No. 119, Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Evidence, ECF No. 125, and Defendant’s Motions to Seal, ECF Nos. 100, 103, and 114. For the reasons stated below the Court grants in part and denies in part Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s respective motions for summary judgment, denies Plaintiff’s Motion for class certification, and grants all motions to seal. The remaining motions and appeals are dismissed as moot.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         David Leoni sued Defendant Experian Information Solutions on May 18, 2017. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff filed his operative First Amended Complaint on September 28, 2017. The original complaint also named Military Star as a Defendant, however Plaintiff’s amended complaint terminated Military Star’s presence in this action. ECF No. 17. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff asserts one cause of action for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) on behalf of Leoni and a proposed class and a second cause of action as to the named plaintiff only for Defendant Experian’s alleged FCRA violations.

         Now both parties move for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 90, 98. Both parties have opposed and filed corresponding replies. ECF Nos. 109, 110, 112, 115. Plaintiff has also filed an appeal of the Honorable Cam Ferenbach’s prior order on October 10, 2018 denying Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel. ECF No. 89. Defendant has opposed that appeal. ECF No. 101. In addition, Plaintiff has also filed three motions to seal or redact portions of the record, a motion to strike or leave to seek surreply to Defendant’s motion for summary judgment, a motion for leave to submit supplemental evidence regarding the appeal of the Court’s October 10, 2018 order, and a motion for class certification pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 that are also now before the Court. ECF Nos. 92, 94, 96, 117, 119. Defendant has responded to both the motion for class certification and two of the motions to seal. ECF Nos. 104, 105, 106. Finally, Defendant has also filed three motions to seal. ECF No. 100 103, 114.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         a. Undisputed Facts

         The Court finds the following facts to be undisputed.

         On or about March 22, 2011, Plaintiff filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Nevada. Leoni’s debt obligation to nonparty Military Star was scheduled in the bankruptcy. On May 13, 2016, Leoni’s Chapter 13 Plan was confirmed, and Leoni’s debt to Military Star was discharged on August 1, 2016. On August 31, 2016, Leoni requested and received a copy of his Experian consumer disclosure pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681g(a). The initial Experian consumer disclosure listed in its trade line for Military Star that the recent balance was “$5, 932 as of 5/27/2013” and listed the account’s status as: “Petition for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy/Never late. $5932 written off.” ECF No. 90, Ex. 4. Below the account history was a note that the consumer: “filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy on Mar 31, 2011.” ECF No. 90, Ex. 4. Leoni sent a dispute letter dated October 20, 2016 to the consumer reporting agency Experian. The letter stated in part: “My credit report shows you are inaccurately reporting balances owed for the month of May 2013 on this account . . . .[t]his information is incorrect because I owed a $0 balance at the time this was reported . . . I performed all obligations required to Military Star.” ECF No. 90, Ex. 4. On November 7, 2016, Experian contacted Military Star and sent it an ACDV (automated consumer dispute verification) form regarding Plaintiff’s dispute. Military Star responded and sent its ACDV response to Experian on or about November 8, 2016. On November 24, 2016, Experian mailed Leoni the results of reinvestigation. The Military Star tradeline correctly listed the balance owed as $0, and correctly noted that the status of the account was “[d]ischarged through Bankruptcy Chapter 13.” However, the account history stated that the debt had been “included in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on Nov 08, 2016, ” which was not the date on which Plaintiff had actually filed his bankruptcy petition.

         b. Disputed Facts

         The parties dispute the legal effect of the circumstances described.

         III.LEGAL STANDARD

         a. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show “that 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); accord Celotex Corp. v. Catrett 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). When considering the propriety of summary judgment, the court views all facts and draws all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Gonzalez v. City of Anaheim, 747 F.3d 789, 793 (9th Cir. 2014).

         If the movant has carried its burden, the non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (alteration in original) (quotation marks omitted). It is improper for the Court to resolve genuine factual disputes or make credibility determinations at the summary judgment stage. Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d 436, 441 (9th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted).

         b. Class Certification Legal Standard

         In order to qualify for class certification, the proposed class must meet all the requirements of Federal Rule of Procedure 23(a) and at least one of the requirements of Rule 23(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a), (b). The proponents of the class bear the burden of demonstrating that all the prerequisites for class designation are met. See Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 707 F.3d 1036, 1041 (9th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 707 F.3d 1036, (2013). Although a court should not engage in a trial on the merits at the class certification stage, “[t]he class determination generally involves considerations that are enmeshed in the factual and legal issues comprising the plaintiffs cause of action.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 351, (2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The four threshold requirements under Rule 23(a) are that:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or ...

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