In Mestayer v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc, 2016 WL 631980, at *1 (N.D.Cal., 2016), Judge Chen dismissed a Plaintiff’s FCRA/CCRAA claims grounded in credit reporting during bankruptcy proceedings.
On or about November 25, 2013, Ms. Mestayer filed for bankruptcy in the Northern District of California. On or about April 20, 2014, she received a bankruptcy discharge. During the bankruptcy proceedings, Ms. Mestayer identified an obligation owed to CapOne as one of her debts. CapOne received notice of the bankruptcy filing shortly after proceedings were initiated. In spite of such notice, CapOne did not claim that the debt owed by Ms. Mestayer was not dischargeable. Accordingly, when Ms. Mestayer received her bankruptcy discharge, the debt to CapOne was discharged. CapOne received notice of the discharge in or about April 2014. While bankruptcy proceedings were still ongoing – i.e., pre-discharge – CapOne reported (1) to one credit reporting agency that Ms. Mestayer had an account balance of $756 from January 2014 to April 2014 and (2) to the other credit reporting agency that Ms. Mestayer had a major delinquency in January 2014. Ms. Mestayer disputed this reported information, contending that the information should not have been reported in light of her bankruptcy filing, but to no avail. In this lawsuit, Ms. Mestayer reiterates the claim that CapOne should not have reported the above information while the bankruptcy proceedings were ongoing, because it was misleading.. . .According to Ms. Mestayer, the reporting was misleading because CapOne “implied that [she] was financially irresponsible by completely disregarding her obligations, and made [her] debt appear more recently subject to collection than it really was.”
The Court found that the reporting was not inaccurate.
As to the first argument, CapOne did not imply that Ms. Mestayer disregarded her obligations in any way because it actually reported that she had filed for bankruptcy. As to the second argument, it is not entirely clear what Ms. Mestayer means. As best the Court can understand it, Ms. Mestayer seems to be asserting that it was not clear that the reported account balance/delinquency was a debt incurred before the bankruptcy petition (not after) and, as such, would potentially be subject to discharge. But Ms. Mestayer is demanding too much. CapOne reported the fact that Ms. Mestayer was in bankruptcy proceedings. It also reported the date of the account balance/delinquency. CapOne never made a representation or any other suggestion that the account balance/delinquency was a post-petition rather than a pre-petition debt. Instead, CapOne was simply silent. But that silence was not misleading. With the information provided by CapOne, any person or entity evaluating Ms. Mestayer’s credit report to make a credit decision could easily investigate and determine whether the debt was subject to an impending bankruptcy petition. The Court’s conclusion is consistent with the holdings of other courts that have addressed the same or a similar issue. [Ed. Mortimer v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, No. C 12-1936 CW, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108576 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 2, 2012); Giovanni v. Bank of Am., Nat’l Ass’n, No. C 12-02530 LB, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178914, at *15-16 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 18, 2012); Harrold v. Experian Info. Solns., Inc., No. C 12-02987 WHA, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133385, at *12 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 17, 2012)] Ms. Mestayer protests still that the Court should not make a determination at the 12(b)(6) phase of proceedings – i.e., that it is a factual question as to whether CapOne’s reporting was misleading in any way. The Court is not persuaded. Given the facts alleged, and Ms. Mestayer’s concession that CapOne reported the fact that bankruptcy proceedings had been initiated, no reasonable jury could find the reporting was misleading and therefore, as a matter of law, her claim fails.
The Court also rejected the Plaintiff’s CCRAA claim, finding that the furnisher’s failure to follow METRO-2 guidelines was not dispositive on the question of accuracy.
In her papers, Ms. Mestayer suggests that she still has a viable CCRAA claim based on her allegation that “Capital One subscribed to the Metro 2 format2 for credit reporting, which instructed creditors to report „no data« ?in the payment history during a bankruptcy, yet Capital One did not comply with the Metro 2 instructions.” Opp«n? at 17; see also FAC ¶ 39. But Ms. Mestayer has failed to point to any authority indicating that a failure to comply with an industry standard is a failure to comply with the law. Furthermore, other courts have rejected an attempt to rely on the Metro 2 standard. See, e.g., Mortimer, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51877, at *32-33 (concluding that “Defendant’s alleged noncompliance with the Metro 2 Format is an insufficient basis to state a claim under the FCRA”; noting, e.g., that “Plaintiff has not pled any basis to conclude that…any entity would have expected Defendant to report in compliance with the CDIA guidelines”); Giovanni, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55585, at *15 (noting that “the SAC does not allege that BOA was required to follow the Metro 2 Format, the CDIA’s instructions on credit reporting, or that deviation from those instructions constitutes an inaccurate or misleading statement”). Accordingly, dismissal of the CCRAA claim is proper.