In Maiteki v. Marten Transport Ltd., 2016 WL 3747396, at *1 (10th Cir. 2016), the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed judgment in favor of a furnisher against a FCRA plaintiff’s claim that the furnisher inadequately re-investigated a credit dispute. The facts did not necessarily arise out of a consumer transaction. Marten is a transportation company that employed Mr. Maiteki as an over-the-road truck driver from March to December 2011. Marten has a duty under federal regulations to conduct background checks on drivers. It therefore receives information from and provides information to HireRight, a consumer reporting agency (CRA) that publishes “Drive-A-Check” (DAC) reports on truck drivers’ driving records. When describing Mr. Maiteki’s work record to HireRight after his employment ended, Marten used code 938, which stands for “Unsatisfactory Safety Record,” meaning that the driver did not meet the company’s safety standards.
A “reasonable” investigation “is one that a reasonably prudent person would undertake under the circumstances.” Seamans v. Temple Univ., 744 F.3d 853, 864 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). “[H]ow thorough an investigation must be to be ‘reasonable’ turns on what relevant information was provided to a furnisher by the CRA giving notice of a dispute.” Boggio, 696 F.3d at 617; see Chiang v. Verizon New England Inc., 595 F.3d 26, 38 (1st Cir. 2010) (“[A] more limited investigation may be appropriate when CRAs provide the furnisher with vague or cursory information about a consumer’s dispute.”); Gorman v. Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP, 584 F.3d 1147, 1160 (9th Cir. 2009) (“Congress could not have intended to place a burden on furnishers continually to reinvestigate a particular transaction, without any new information or other reason to doubt the result of the earlier investigation ….”). “[T]he reasonableness of the investigation is to be determined by an objective standard,” and “[t]he burden of showing the investigation was unreasonable is on the plaintiff.” Chiang, 595 F.3d at 37. Mr. Maiteki first argues that summary judgment is improper because the reasonableness of an investigation is a question of fact that can be decided only by a factfinder. He is wrong. “Whether a defendant’s investigation is reasonable is a factual question normally reserved for trial; however, summary judgment is proper if the reasonableness of the defendant’s procedures is beyond question.” Westra v. Credit Control of Pinellas, 409 F.3d 825, 827 (7th Cir. 2005). Accordingly, circuit courts have affirmed summary judgments on § 1681s-2(b) claims in appropriate circumstances. See Chiang, 595 F.3d at 38-39; Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1161; Westra, 409 F.3d at 827. Mr. Maiteki next argues that there is sufficient evidence for a factfinder to conclude that Marten’s investigation was unreasonable. For support, he relies on the same 20 points he raised in the district court. The district court ably explained why these points did not demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact as to the reasonableness of Marten’s investigation. Rather than discussing each point, we address only a few and reject the remaining arguments for substantially the reasons discussed by the district court. Mr. Maiteki claims that Marten’s investigation was perfunctory and “cabined.” Aplt. Br. at 56. As stated above, however, the scope of a reasonable investigation turns on the information about the dispute that the furnisher has received. Mr. Maiteki’s notice of dispute said simply that the use of Code 938, Unsatisfactory Safety Record, was “incorrect due to [Maiteki] has no accidents/incidents listed on the report.” Aplee. Supp. App. at 84. Hence, it was not unreasonable for Marten to focus on whether there were incidents of record that supported its report to HireRight. Although Mr. Maiteki believes that Marten should have undertaken additional investigation and reviewed other sources of information (which purportedly would have more positively reflected his driving record), such additional investigation would not negate the Illinois warning and the SpeedGauge data that caused Ms. Konsela to conclude that Code 938 was accurate. Mr. Maiteki asserts that he never received the Written Warning or the Serious Warning. But entries in HRIS are to the contrary; and given the terse nature of Mr. Maiteki’s notice of dispute, Ms. Konsela had no reason to know that Mr. Maiteki was challenging those entries. Mr. Maiteki also complains that Ms. Konsela failed to review the original SpeedGauge reports underlying Ms. Sobotta’s October 5, 2011 HRIS entry and failed to contact either the Illinois State Police or SpeedGauge to verify the information in Marten’s files. But as for the Illinois documents, there does not appear to be any reason to doubt their authenticity. Marten received them from the U.S. Department of Transportation. In district court Mr. Maiteki apparently did not dispute that Marten’s file contained these documents, and before this court he concedes that he was issued the warning, see Aplt. Br. at 56 (“Aside from the Illinois State Police warning of July 16, 2011, Maiteki never had any speeding tickets or incidents nor accidents while working for Marten.”). Because she had no reason to question the documents, Ms. Konsela’s failure to contact the Illinois State Police does not cast doubt on the reasonableness of the investigation. See Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1160 (information furnisher not required to perform additional procedures or inquiries when notice of dispute gave no reason to doubt the veracity of the initial investigation). Regarding the SpeedGauge data, it is undisputed that Marten no longer had access to the SpeedGauge reports underlying the HRIS entry by the time of Ms. Konsela’s investigation. Ms. Konsela would have had to contact SpeedGauge in an attempt to review that information.2 But an investigation does not have to be exhaustive to be reasonable; an information furnisher may balance the costs and benefits of engaging in additional procedures. See Seamans, 744 F.3d at 865; Johnson v. MBNA Am. Bank, NA, 357 F.3d 426, 432-33 (4th Cir. 2004). If the circumstances warrant, a company may rely on its own records. See Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1159-60; Westra, 409 F.3d at 827. We recognize that the Fourth Circuit has held that a jury could find unreasonable a procedure requiring agents to rely solely on computer data and “never consult underlying documents” for verification. Johnson, 357 F.3d at 431. In this case, however, instead of relying on the bare HRIS data, Ms. Konsela followed up with Ms. Sobotta, who confirmed that she had reviewed the underlying SpeedGauge reports and that the HRIS information was accurate. It was reasonable for Ms. Konsela to rely on Ms. Sobotta’s confirmation. Further, the record evidence shows that Marten believed Code 938 was appropriate even if the Illinois incident were the only incident. In these circumstances, Ms. Konsela could properly decide not to reach out to SpeedGauge. . . In short, Mr. Maiteki has not carried his burden to show that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that Marten’s reinvestigation was unreasonable. The district court appropriately granted summary judgment to Marten on Mr. Maiteki’s FCRA claim.