In Marshall v. Robins Fin. Credit Union, No. 5:19-CV-260 (MTT), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22274 (M.D. Ga. Feb. 10, 2020), Judge Treadwell found against an FCRA Plaintiff in a ‘scheduled monthly payment’ claim.
Robins argues that it did not furnish an inaccurate tradeline because the monthly payment amount of $524.00 is an accurate “historical term” for an account that it reported was paid and closed. Doc. 14-2 at 2-3. In support of its motion, Robins submitted Marshall’s “credit report journal also known as ‘Tradeline'” dated February 1, 2016 that it submitted to Trans Union. Id. at 2, 7; Doc. 24 at 2-3. Marshall alleges that although the account had a zero-dollar balance, his Trans Union credit disclosure reflects he has “an erroneous scheduled monthly payment amount of $524.00 . . . [even though the account] was paid and closed . . . and Robins FCU failed or refused to report the scheduled monthly payment as $0.00 on the Errant Tradeline.” Doc. 1 ¶¶ 7, 16. . . . Marshall’s claim that Robins failed to conduct a reasonable investigation or correct the inaccurate tradeline fails without evidence of an inaccuracy. Felts v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 893 F.3d 1305, 1313 (11th Cir. 2018) (“Regardless of the nature of the investigation a furnisher conducted, a plaintiff asserting a claim against a furnisher for failure to conduct a reasonable investigation cannot prevail on the claim without demonstrating that had the furnisher conducted a reasonable investigation, the result would have been different; i.e., that the furnisher would have discovered that the information it reported was inaccurate or complete, triggering the furnisher’s obligation to correct the information.”). The motion thus turns on whether Robins reported an inaccurate tradeline to Trans Union. 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a)(1)(B) (stating that a creditor “shall not furnish information relating to a consumer to any consumer reporting agency . . . that . . . is inaccurate”). Courts have adopted two approaches when evaluating an allegedly inaccurate credit report: (1) the “technically accurate” approach, which requires only that information furnished is “not false” and (2) the “maximum possible accuracy” approach, which requires information that is accurate, not misleading, and complete. Pedro v. Equifax, Inc., 868 F.3d 1275, 1281 (11th Cir. 2017). The Eleventh Circuit has not clearly adopted either one. Id. (stating that although the FCRA requires information to be “both accurate and not misleading, we cannot say that reading the Act to require only technical accuracy was objectively unreasonable”). But regardless of the approach, Robins did not report inaccurate or misleading information. The parties agree that the report accurately states that the account has been paid in full and closed; Marshall does not dispute that the report accurately states the historical payment amount; and Marshall has provided no evidence showing that listing the historical monthly payment amount is in any way misleading or incomplete. Docs. 24 at 2-3; 25-1 at 15; 25-2 at 16. Furnishing accurate historical information neither changes the accuracy of the report nor causes any confusion regarding Marshall’s Robins account status. See Cahlin, 936 F.2d at 1158 (holding that a credit reporting agency has no duty to disclose “only that information which is favorable or beneficial to the consumer”); see also Hunt v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31608, 2018 WL 1183357, at *4 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 26, 2018) (comparing agencies to furnishers when analyzing how to interpret accuracy for purposes of § 1681s-2(b)) (citing Chiang v. Verizon New England, Inc., 595 F.3d 26, 37-38 (1st Cir. 2010) (determining that the FCRA’s text and purpose favor applying the same standards in cases brought against credit reporting agencies and furnishers due to “parallel obligations” and “considerable overlap” of responsibilities)), aff’d, 770 Fed. App’x 452 (11th Cir. 2019). If tradelines “shaded every credit history . . . in the best possible light for the consumer,” the purpose of credit reporting would be pointless. See Cahlin, 936 F.2d at 1158. Furnishing the accurate historical terms of payment on Marshall’s reported tradeline does nothing more than allow credit reporting agencies to better “inform future creditors of [his] ability and willingness to satisfy [his] account.” See Seay v. Trans Union, LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169073, 2019 WL 4773827, at *4 (M.D. Ga. Sept. 30, 2019).