Mejia v. Bank of America, National Association et al

Filing 27

ORDER by Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd granting 24 Motion for Summary Judgment. The clerk shall enter judgment and close the file. (hrllc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/14/2014)

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1 *E-Filed: February 14, 2014* 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 For the Northern District of California NOT FOR CITATION 8 United States District Court 7 SAN JOSE DIVISION 11 JAIME MEJIA, No. C13-01157 HRL Plaintiff, 12 ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT v. 13 14 BANK OF AMERICA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, ET AL., 15 Defendants. ____________________________________/ [Re: Docket No. 24] 16 17 Plaintiff Jaime Mejia (“Plaintiff”) sues Defendants Bank of America, N.A. (“BANA”) and 18 FIA Card Services, N.A. (“FIA”) (collectively, “Defendants”) for failing to reasonably investigate 19 his dispute in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C § 1681s-2(b). He also 20 brings related state law claims for alleged violations of the California Consumer Credit Reporting 21 Agencies Act (CCRAA), Cal. Civ. Code § 1785.25(a), as well as California’s Unfair Competition 22 Law (“UCL”), Cal. Bus. Prof. Code § 17200. Defendants move for summary judgment on all 23 claims. Mejia did not file a response, and at the hearing on February 11, 2014, counsel for Plaintiff 24 expressly stated his non-opposition. Both parties consented to having all matters proceed before the 25 undersigned. Based on Defendants’ motion and Plaintiff’s non-opposition, the motion is granted. 26 27 28 BACKGROUND Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (FAC) alleges the following: Plaintiff filed for bankruptcy in the Eastern District of California in April 2010. His BANA mortgage account and 1 FIA credit card account were discharged by order of the bankruptcy court in July 2010. In April 2 2011, Plaintiff pulled his credit reports, which indicated that BANA reported overdue payments 3 from April 2010 through November 2011. The reports also indicated that FIA reported overdue 4 payments from August 2010 through December 2010 and a charge off notation in September 2011. 5 Plaintiff notified credit reporting agencies (CRAs) that he disputed the information, and they in turn 6 notified the Defendants. In March 2012, he received updated credit reports from the CRAs 7 indicating that Defendants corrected their reporting. However, in February 2013, he received 8 subsequent credit reports indicating that Defendants re-reported the inaccuracies and failed to note 9 that he disputed the information. For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff has no evidence 11 whatsoever to support the allegations in the FAC. The only evidence Plaintiff produced is an 12 inadmissible credit report which actually contains someone else’s credit information, yet it appears 13 to have formed the entire basis of his claims. 14 LEGAL STANDARD 15 A motion for summary judgment should be granted if there is no genuine dispute of material 16 fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Anderson 17 v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of 18 informing the court of the basis for the motion, and identifying portions of the pleadings, 19 depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits which demonstrate the absence of a 20 triable issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to meet 21 its burden, “the moving party must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the 22 nonmoving party’s claim or defense or show that the nonmoving party does not have enough 23 evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial.” Nissan Fire & 24 Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). 25 If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to 26 produce evidence supporting its claims or defenses. See Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd., 210 27 F.3d at 1102. The non-moving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of the adverse 28 party’s evidence, but instead must produce admissible evidence that shows there is a genuine issue 2 1 of material fact for trial. See id. A genuine issue of fact is one that could reasonably be resolved in 2 favor of either party. A dispute is “material” only if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the 3 governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49. 4 “When the nonmoving party has the burden of proof at trial, the moving party need only 5 point out ‘that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case.’” Devereaux 6 v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001) (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325). Once the 7 moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, 8 but must present evidence sufficient to demonstrate that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. DISCUSSION 9 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 A. Fair Credit Reporting Act 11 The FCRA imposes certain obligations on persons who furnish information to CRAs. See 15 12 U.S.C. § 1681s-2. Subsection (a) imposes a duty to provide accurate information; however, there is 13 no private right of action for § 1681s-2(a). There is a private right of action based on subsection (b), 14 which imposes a series of duties once a furnisher receives notice directly from a CRA that a 15 consumer disputes the accuracy of the furnisher’s reporting. See § 1682s-2(b). Upon notification, a 16 furnisher must, among other things, conduct a reasonable investigation and update any information 17 it finds to be inaccurate or incomplete. Id.; Gorman v. Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP, 584 F.3d 1147, 18 1157 (9th Cir. 2009). Information can be inaccurate or incomplete if it is “patently incorrect, or 19 because it is misleading in such a way and to such an extent that it can be expected to adversely 20 affect credit decisions.” Drew v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 690 F.3d 1100, 1108 (9th Cir. 2012). 21 Furnishers must also report bona fide disputes; however, there is no obligation to “report a meritless 22 dispute, because reporting an actual debt without noting that it is disputed is unlikely to be 23 materially misleading.” Gorman, 690 F.3d at 1163. 24 Here, the only evidence of Defendants’ alleged inaccurate credit reporting is a Suite 25 Solutions document which purports to provide debtor information for Jaime Mejia. The document 26 provides that the debtor’s bankruptcy case was docket number 1149468EDJ in the U.S. Bankruptcy 27 Court in Oakland, CA, and was discharged on December 6, 2011. However, that docket indicates 28 that the debtors involved were “Ludovico Garcia Mejia” and “Primitiva Cayabyab Mejia,” not 3 1 Plaintiff Jaime Mejia, whose bankruptcy case was in a different district and year. Other information 2 provided in the Suite Solutions is also consistent with Ludovico and Primitiva Mejia, not Plaintiff. 3 For example, the report shows delinquencies through November 2011, consistent with Ludovico and 4 Primitiva Mejia’s discharge through bankruptcy in December 2011. Thus, it appears that the 5 document does not contain credit information for the plaintiff and that the allegations of the 6 complaint are based on this misinformation. Counsel for Plaintiff conceded as much at the hearing. 7 Accordingly, there is no evidence that Defendants furnished inaccurate credit information about 8 Plaintiff, and Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the FCRA claim. 9 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 B. State Law Claims The CCRAA provides that a “person shall not furnish information on a specific transaction 11 or experience to any consumer credit reporting agency if the person knows or should know the 12 information is incomplete or inaccurate.” Cal. Civil Code § 1785.25(a). In determining whether an 13 item of credit is inaccurate, the same test is applied under the FCRA and the CCRAA. See 14 Carvalho v. Equifax Information Services, LLC, 629 F.3d 876, 890-91 (9th Cir. 2010) 15 (“Accordingly, in considering whether [plaintiff]’s credit report was inaccurate within the meaning 16 of the CCRAA, we are guided by Gorman’s ‘patently incorrect or materially misleading’ 17 standard.”). As discussed above, there is no evidence to support Plaintiff’s allegation that 18 Defendants’ reporting was inaccurate. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment 19 on this claim as well. 20 The sole basis for Plaintiff’s UCL claim, as alleged in the FAC, is Defendants’ violation of 21 the CCRAA. However, because the Court finds that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment 22 on that claim, Defendants are likewise entitled to summary judgment on the UCL claim. CONCLUSION 23 24 25 26 27 28 Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as to all claims for relief. The clerk shall enter judgment and close the file. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 14, 2014 HOWARD R. LLOYD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 4 1 C13-01157 HRL Notice will be electronically mailed to: 2 Charles James Snyder 3 Elliot Wayne Gale 4 Jarrett Stanton Osborne-Revis 5 Raymond Yoon Ho Kim 6 Scott Joseph Sagaria 7 Counsel are responsible for distributing copies of this document to co-counsel who have not registered for e-filing under the court’s CM/ECF program.,,,,, 8 9 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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