In Thomas v. Hyundai Capital America, et. al., 2018 WL 4899074, at *3–4 (D.Colo., 2018), Magistrate Judge Mix dismissed an FCRA claim against a CRA.
The Equifax Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s claim fails because he cannot establish element two, i.e. that the report in question was, in fact, inaccurate. Motion [#10] at 5. They assert that “it is undisputed that [Defendant HMF] did seek payment and that Plaintiff refused to make payment and, therefore, if [the Equifax Defendants] reported that the account was delinquent, the information was accurate.” Id. The Equifax Defendants further aver that Plaintiffs’ claims “are premised on the contention that [the Equifax Defendants] had a duty to evaluate Plaintiff’s contract dispute with Hyundai and determine that Plaintiff and not Hyundai had the better position.” Id. at 4. The Equifax Defendants contend that they did not have a duty to adjudicate the dispute between Plaintiff and Defendant HMF. Id. at 5. “Although § 1681i(a) does not define the term ‘reasonable reinvestigation,’ courts have consistently held a reasonable reinvestigation requires more than ‘making only a cursory investigation into the reliability of information that is reported to potential creditors.’ ” Wright v. Experian Info. Sols., 805 F.3d 1232, 1242 (10th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). However, “a reasonable reinvestigation…does not require CRAs to resolve legal disputes about the validity of the underlying debts they report.” Id. (citing Carvalho v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 629 F. 3d 876, 892 (9th Cir. 2010) (“We agree that reinvestigation claims are not the proper vehicle for collaterally attacking the validity of consumer debts.”); DeAndrade v. TransUnion LLC, 523 F.3d 61, 68 (1st Cir. 2008) (holding a reasonable reinvestigation does not entail resolving “legal issue[s] that a credit agency…is neither qualified nor obligated to resolve under the FCRA”)). Accordingly, the Equifax Defendants were not required to determine the validity of the underlying debts involved in the now settled dispute between Plaintiff and Defendant HMF. Plaintiff does not aver that the Equifax Defendants merely made a cursory review of the dispute. See generally Compl. [#1]. Instead, Plaintiff asserts that “based solely on the result of the reinvestigation and Equifax’s failure to describe the process,…Plaintiff believes that [the Equifax Defendants] failed to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation.” Id. ¶ 220. Plaintiff’s assertion that the Equifax Defendants failed to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation is therefore apparently solely rooted in his disagreement with the Equifax Defendant’s findings, i.e., that the information provided by Defendant HMF was accurate. For the Equifax Defendants to have found that the information provided by Defendant HMF was inaccurate, they would have had to determine that Plaintiff did not owe the Fees claimed by Defendant HMF under their contract. Resolving the contract dispute is something that the Equifax Defendants were not equipped or required by law to do. Wright, 805 F.3d at 1242. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because Plaintiff does not allege that the Equifax Defendants reported inaccurate information. Instead, Plaintiff alleges that he did not actually owe the amount that Defendant HMF reported. However, the Equifax Defendants are not required to resolve legal disputes about the underlying debt they report. Id. (“[A] reasonable reinvestigation …does not require CRAs to resolve legal disputes about the validity of the underlying debts they report.”).