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Keller v. Trans Union LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 3, 2017

Kyle Keller, Plaintiff,
Trans Union LLC, et al., Defendants.


          Honorable John J. Tuchi United States District Judge.

         At issue is Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 70, Mot.), to which Plaintiff Kyle Keller filed a Response (Doc. 72, Resp.), and Defendant filed a Reply (Doc. 74, Reply). The Court elects to resolve the Motion without oral argument. See LRCiv 7.2(f).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 1, 2005, Plaintiff opened a second mortgage through GMAC Mortgage for $67, 040.00. As of August 2009, Plaintiff owed approximately $64, 171.55 on that mortgage. Plaintiff stopped making payments on the loan after January 9, 2009 and GMAC eventually offered to settle the account for $5, 293.72. In the offer letter, GMAC indicated that it would view acceptance as “full and final satisfaction of [the] account” and that it would “cancel the Note and/or Credit Agreement.” Plaintiff accepted the settlement and paid GMAC on August 27, 2009.

         On April 28, 2015, Plaintiff opened a dispute with Defendant regarding the GMAC trade line. Defendant is a consumer reporting agency as that term is defined under 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(f) and regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. As such, Plaintiff requested that Defendant remove the notation that payment was late by 120 days and that the account was “Settled-less than full balance.” Plaintiff also requested that the account be reported as “satisfied in full.” Plaintiff's dispute included the July 22, 2009 settlement option letter from GMAC and correspondence confirming payment in accordance with those terms.

         In response to the dispute, Defendant sent an Automated Consumer Dispute Verification to Ocwen-who had assumed control of the mortgage account from GMAC in the interim-attaching the documents Plaintiff provided. On May 11, 2015, Ocwen responded, maintaining that the account was paid in full for less than the full balance owed.

         On May 11, 2015, Defendant provided Plaintiff with the reinvestigation results, which showed that the GMAC Mortgage trade was still reported as “account paid in full for less than full balance.” Plaintiff then brought the current action against Defendant, as well as other credit reporting agencies (TransUnion and Equifax) and Ocwen. Plaintiff settled its dispute as to all other Defendants.


         A. Summary Judgment

         Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate when: (1) the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact; and (2) after viewing the evidence most favorably to the non-moving party, the movant is entitled to prevail as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Eisenberg v. Ins. Co. of N. Am., 815 F.2d 1285, 1288-89 (9th Cir. 1987). Under this standard, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under governing [substantive] law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A “genuine issue” of material fact arises only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must regard as true the non-moving party's evidence, if it is supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Eisenberg, 815 F.2d at 1289. However, the non-moving party may not merely rest on its pleadings; it must produce some significant probative evidence tending to contradict the moving party's allegations, thereby creating a material question of fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57 (holding that the plaintiff must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment); First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968).

         “A summary judgment motion cannot be defeated by relying solely on conclusory allegations unsupported by factual data.” Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). “Summary judgment must be entered ‘against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.'” United States v. Carter, 906 F.2d 1375, 1376 (9th Cir. 1990) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322). “As a general matter, the plaintiff in an employment discrimination action need produce very little evidence in order to overcome an employer's motion for summary judgment.” Chuang v. Univ. of Cal. Davis, Bd. of Trs., 225 F.3d 1115, 1124 (9th Cir. 2000).

         B. Fair Credit Reporting Act

         Congress enacted the FCRA to ensure fair and accurate credit reporting, to promote efficiency in the banking system, and to protect consumer privacy. Gorman v. Wolpoff & ...

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