In Contreras v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., 2017 WL 6372646, at *3 (C.D.Cal., 2017), Judge Kato denied production of settlement agreements amongst FCRA co-defendants.
Defendant argues the settlement agreements are necessary to determine (a) “whether Plaintiff has been fully compensated for his alleged injuries,” and (b) “the reasonableness of an attorney fee award should Plaintiff prevail on his claims.” JS at 8. Defendant argues the settlement agreements are relevant because the “one satisfaction rule” would require offset of any amounts recovered pursuant to the settlement agreements against any potential recovery from Defendant. The “one satisfaction rule” is an “equitable doctrine [which] operates to reduce a plaintiff’s recovery from the nonsettling defendant to prevent the plaintiff from recovering twice from the same assessment of liability.” Sloane v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 510 F.3d 495, 501 (4th Cir. 2007) (noting that “[a]rguably, the ‘one satisfaction rule’ does not even apply to FCRA claims,” but declining to decide the issue by rejecting defendant’s argument that plaintiff’s injuries were indivisible).   Defendant cites an out-of-district case in support of its position that the “one satisfaction rule” applies to FCRA cases. Williams v. LVNV Funding, LLC, No. 4:15-CV-2219-KOB, 2017 WL 1331014, at *1 (N.D. Ala. Apr. 11, 2017) (distinguishing Sloane, finding plaintiff suffered a “single, indivisible harm”). However, courts in this district have held there is no equitable offset in FCRA cases. Nelson v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 522 F. Supp. 2d 1222, 1239 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (holding no offset is warranted by virtue of plaintiff’s settlement with a co-defendant). In addition, this case appears distinguishable from Williams where evidence was presented that plaintiff could not distinguish between injuries caused by each defendant. Here, Plaintiff argues the violations and injuries therefrom are distinct as to each defendant, JS at 12, and no evidence has been presented at this stage to suggest Plaintiff will be unable to establish distinct injuries.  Therefore, at this time, the Court finds the burden of production is not proportional to the needs of the case prior to a determination of liability. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b); see also Peters, 2013 WL 12169355, at *3 (“Any issue of double recovery or excess recovery can be resolved post-trial.”). Accordingly, the Court finds Defendant has failed to make a particularized or heightened showing required to obtain the settlement information. Peters, 2013 WL 12169355, at *4 (citing Centillion Data Sys., Inc., 193 F.R.D. at 552–53). Hence, Defendant’s Motion to Compel is DENIED without prejudice.