In McDonald v. OneWest Bank, FSB, 2013 WL 858197 (W.D.Wash. 2013), Judge Lasnik found a triable issue of fact as to a furnisher’s reinvestigation under FCRA, finding that the furnisher can not rely solely on the information provided to it by the CRA when the furnisher has other information available to it to investigate.
Plaintiff bears the burden of showing that defendant’s investigation was unreasonable. Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1157. Although FCRA requires the CRA to include in the notice of dispute “all relevant information regarding the dispute that the agency has received from the consumer …” (15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(2)(A)), the CRAs in this case apparently utilized an electronic form with a “Dispute Code” that read, “001: Not his/hers. Provide or confirm complete ID.” Decl. of Charles Boyle (Dkt.# 156), Exs A and B. If this were all the information OneWest had regarding plaintiff’s dispute, a simple review of plaintiff’s file to confirm the identity of the person who signed the original promissory note might constitute a reasonable investigation. The CRA’s notice was not the only information available to OneWest, however. At the end of June 2010, plaintiff simultaneously raised this dispute through letters to OneWest and the CRAs. Although the letters are ambiguous regarding the nature of his dispute, plaintiff’s objection to OneWest’s report of “derogatory information” could reasonably be interpreted as a challenge to the assertion that a debt is owed to OneWest. Decl. of James McDonald (Dkt.# 163), Ex. 4. This same objection was more fully stated in a letter to OneWest dated April 27, 2010, in which plaintiff contests the amount owed, the identity of the entity entitled to collect payments, the identity of the entity to whom the debt is owed, and the path by which plaintiff’s original promissory note allegedly devolved to OneWest. In that letter, plaintiff specifically requests that OneWest conduct a de novo investigation [FN6 “I firmly request that you do not rely on previous servicers or originators records, assurances or indemnity agreements and refuse to conduct a full audit and investigation of this account.” Dkt. # 17, Ex. F.] for the purpose of locating the original instrument, tracking the chain of transfer, and establishing OneWest’s right to collect and/or benefit from payments. All of this information was in OneWest’s possession and would have illuminated plaintiff’s dispute had his file been reviewed. OneWest argues that the reasonableness of its inquiry should be judged solely on what it learned from the CRA. Reply (Dkt.# 166) at 3. This may be a reasonable construction of a furnisher’s statutory duty where the only information available to the furnisher comes through the notice of dispute. See Westra v. Credit Control of Pinellas, 409 F.3d 825, 827 (7th Cir.2005) (furnisher’s initial investigation was found to be adequate where the notice from the CRA provided “scant information” regarding the nature of the dispute and did not mention fraud or identity theft). But there is no statutory, policy, or case law justification for allowing a furnisher to ignore what it knows about a consumer’s complaint simply because it was not included in the notice from the CRA. In Westra, for example, the consumer sent an explanatory letter directly to the furnisher after it had initially declined to correct the disputed information. When the CRA sent a second notice of dispute, that letter formed part of the information considered during the investigation. In Gorman, the Ninth Circuit noted that while the notice from the CRA determines the nature of the dispute that is to be investigated, once the investigation starts, the notice is not a limitation that “cabins the scope of the investigation.” 584 F.3d at 1157 n. 1. In Rogers v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 2012 WL 2190900 at *9 (W.D.Wash. June 13, 2012), the court found that, although Chase’s investigation would have been reasonable had it possessed only the notice of dispute from the CRA, Chase’s failure to take into consideration an oral report of identity theft lodged by the consumer raised a fact issue for the jury regarding the reasonableness of the investigation. ¶ In this case, OneWest’s duty to investigate was triggered upon receipt of a notice of dispute from a CRA. OneWest does not describe the steps it took to “investigate” plaintiff’s dispute, but it appears that OneWest did nothing more than compare the points of data provided by the CRA with its own records. Even if plaintiff were simply disputing his responsibility for the debt (as suggested by the dispute code chosen by the CRAs), OneWest’s investigation would show only that the CRA was accurately reporting the information OneWest had previously provided. Any defect in the accuracy of the reported information would neces-sarily go undetected. Such an inquiry would be cursory at best and not “likely to turn up information about the underlying facts and positions of the parties ….” Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1155. A jury could determine that, despite the limited information provided by the CRA, a reasonable investigation would have involved a review of plaintiff’s file (in whatever format it was kept) to determine whether he had signed the original promissory note (i.e., that the debt was his). Given the additional information that OneWest had regarding the nature of plaintiff’s objections, the reasonableness of OneWest’s investigation is for the fact finder to resolve, not the Court on summary judgment. The Court declines to enter judgment in plaintiff’s favor under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(f)(1). ¶ For all of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681s–2(a) fails as a matter of law.