In Fregoso v. Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Inc., 2012 WL 4903291 (C.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Otero allowed a FCRA identity theft case to go to the jury against a third party debt collector. As to the identity theft claim under FCRA, Judge Otero found that no FTC Affidavit of Theft was required:
PCC argues that if Plaintiff is a victim of identity theft as he claims to be, Plaintiff is required to file an Identity Theft Report before taking legal action against PCC. (Mot.7.) PCC asserts that this requirement is outlined under § 1681 c–1 (b)(1), wherein consumers must first file an Identity Theft Report before requesting that a CRA initiate an extended fraud alert in their credit files. (Mot.7.) PCC contends that because Plaintiff did not file an Identity Theft Report prior to bringing this action, the action must be dismissed. (Mot.7.) ¶ While § 1681 c–1 requires the filing of a report, that requirement bears no relation to the cause of action being asserted against PCC for willful and negligent non-compliance with the duties imposed on it under § 1681s–2(b), a completely different section. Plaintiff does not claim that PCC violated the FCRA for failure to initiate an extended fraud alert. Nowhere in § 1681s–2(b)—the section that PCC allegedly vio-lated—is there a requirement that a consumer file an identity theft report before he can pursue legal action against a furnisher. While the furnisher of information (here, PCC) may have additional legal duties if an Identity Theft Report is proffered, see 15 U.S.C. § 1681s–2(a)(6)(B), this does not mean that the furnisher has no legal duties in the absence of an Identity Theft Report. The FCRA does not provide that filing an Identity Theft Report is a prerequisite to bringing suit against a furnisher of information for violation of the FCRA. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s failure to file an Identity Theft Report does not nullify Plaintiff’s otherwise-valid claims in his complaint.
Judge Otero also addressed the quantum of proof necessary for proof of emotional distress damages:
In support of his argument that he was emotion-ally injured by PCC’s actions, Plaintiff provides extensive testimonial evidence demonstrating mental distress. Plaintiff has alleged that he emotionally suffered from being “painted as a criminal.” (PSDF ¶ 57; see Pl. Exs., Ex. B (“Fregoso Dep.”) 79:21–25.) He allegedly feels “really bad” about the entire ordeal, and finds it all very stressful, to the point where he has had stomach aches. (PSDF ¶¶ 60–62; see Fregoso Dep. 91:10–18, 98:1–9.) And he has allegedly found the entire ordeal humiliating, to the point where he has avoided applying for credit. PSDF ¶ 63; see P.Ex. List, Ex. B, Fregoso Dep. 98:16–19. Plaintiff has also introduced evidence from his wife corroborating these observations of severe emotional distress. (See generally Pl. Exs., Ex. H, Zenaida Fregoso Dep.) ¶ Plaintiff failed to provide any objective evidence of emotional distress apart from his and his wife’s testimony; but although this failing may weaken his case before a jury, Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to overcome summary judgment. A district court within the Ninth Circuit has held that plaintiffs’ own allegations of emotional distress constitute evidence “sufficient to create a question for the jury, particu-larly when all … possible inferences are resolved in [their] favor.” Acton v. Bank One Corp., 293 F.Supp.2d 1092, 1101 (D.Ariz.2003). This finding was based on the Ninth Circuit rule that “objective evidence requirements … [are] not imposed by case law in the Ninth Circuit, or the Supreme Court.” Zhang v. Am. Gem Seafoods Inc., 339 F.3d 1020, 1040 (9th Cir.2003) (quoting Passantino v. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Prods. Inc., 212 F.3d 493, 513 (9th Cir.2000). The Court agrees with this analysis in light of the Ninth Circuit’s low evidentiary bar. ¶ PCC cites to cases from other circuits supporting a contention that emotional damages must be sup-ported with “a degree of specificity which may include corroborating testimony or medical or psychological evidence in support of the damage award.” Cousin v.. Trans Union Corp., 246 F.3d 359, 371 (5th Cir.2001) (internal quotations omitted); but see Stevenson v. TRW Inc., 987 F.2d 288, 297 (5th Cir.1993) (upholding a district court’s award of damages based on plaintiff’s “mental anguish over his lengthy dealings with [defendant] after he disputed his credit report”). However, PCC’s case citations on this point come entirely from other circuits, and the Ninth Circuit made clear in Passantino that its evidence requirements differ from those of other circuits. 212 F.3d at 513. Plaintiff has not provided compelling evidence to support a finding that he was emotionally injured by his low credit rating, but life experience and the law of this Circuit would support a jury so finding.