In Cheetham v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC, No. 2:20-CV-762-JCC-DWC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99759 (W.D. Wash. May 26, 2021), Judge Cristel protected inquiry by a Furnisher from a FCRA plaintiff of the Plaintiff’s settlement with the CRAs.
SLS seeks to compel Jon to respond to a deposition question inquiring into the total sum of monies Plaintiffs received from each CRA in their settlement agreements. Dkt. 62. SLS asserts the information is not privileged and is relevant because it may show that any damages against SLS must be reduced. Id. SLS asserts the information is relevant to prevent Plaintiffs from receiving double recovery for the same injury. See Dkt. 62, 64. Plaintiffs contend the amount they received in settlements with the CRAs is irrelevant because SLS is not entitled to an offset under the FCRA. Dkt. 63. The parties agree, and the Court finds, there is no controlling authority in the Western District of Washington. However, district courts in the Ninth Circuit have denied similar motions to compel. Courts have found FCRA defendants do not enjoy rights of contribution or indemnity to prevent double recovery and, thus, settlement information is not relevant. See e.g. Thomasian v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119554, 2013 WL 4498667, at *2 (D. Or. Aug. 22, 2013) (denying motion to compel settlement agreements in FCRA case where the plaintiff had settled with the three credit reporting agencies); Peters v. Equifax Info. Servs. LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199654, 2013 WL 12169355, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 13, 2013) (denying motion to compel confidential settlement agreement information requested during the plaintiff’s deposition in FCRA case where the plaintiff had settled with credit reporting agencies); Jansen v. Equifax Information Services, LLC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79760, 2010 WL 3075324, at * 2 (D. Or. Aug. 6, 2010) (noting FRCA defendant did not enjoy rights of contribution or indemnity when determining if amounts of settlements were discoverable to prevent double recovery when considering attorney’s fees); Thompson v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78350, 2019 WL 2059123, at *2 (E.D. Mich. May 9, 2019) (“there is no right to contribution or indemnification under the FCRA”). SLS argues that, even if there is no contribution available under the FCRA, the information is relevant for SLS to seek to reduce damages under the “one satisfaction rule.” Dkt. 64. Courts in the Ninth Circuit have determined the “one satisfaction rule” does not apply in FCRA cases. See Contreras v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204181, 2017 WL 6372646, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 12, 2017) (declining to compel discovery of settlement agreement and finding the “one satisfaction rule” did not apply in FCRA case). Further, even if the “one satisfaction rule” does apply, offset issues can be resolved post-trial. See Zook v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 235786, 2018 WL 10604347, at *3 (D. Or. July 2, 2018) (“Even if the one satisfaction rule applies to the [FCRA] claims in this case, it is premature to order sensitive and confidential information to be disclosed before a trier of fact has determined whether any damages should be awarded”); Peters v. Equifax Info. Servs. LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199654, 2013 WL 12169355, at *3 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 13, 2013) (“Any issue of double recovery or excess recovery can be resolved post-trial”); Thomasian, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119554, 2013 WL 4498667 at *2 (same).2 Public policy dictates that confidentiality agreements regarding settlements not be lightly abrogated, Flynn v. Portland General Elec. Corp., 1989 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11219, 1989 WL 112802, at *2 (D. Or. Sept. 21, 1989), and the weight of authority holds that there is no equitable offset for causes of action under the FCRA. Further, if the “one satisfaction rule” applies to the claims in this case, the request for settlement amounts is premature.3 Therefore, the Court finds the settlement amounts between Plaintiffs and the CRAs are not relevant and Plaintiffs are not required to answer the deposition question at this time. See Zook, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 235786, 2018 WL 10604347 at *3 (denying motion to compel settlement agreements, including the settlement amounts, without prejudice as irrelevant at that time).