In Roybal v. Equifax, Judge England issued three separate opinions addressing liability of furnishers and credit reporting agencies. In Roybal v. Equifax, 2008 WL 453447 (E.D.Cal. 2008), Judge England addressed the CRAs for publishing allegedly inaccurate credit information about the plaintiff. First, Judge England allowed a wife to pursue a claim for inaccuracies in the husband’s credit report:
The parties do not dispute that inaccurate information was reported in Mr. Roybal’s credit report. However, Plaintiffs have not shown that any inaccurate information was reported on Mrs. Roybal’s report. Because no such information was reported as to Mrs. Roybal, Defendants argue that she lacks standing to bring the current claims. Defendants’ claim runs contrary to the well-reasoned opinion in Soghomonian v. The United States of America, 278 F.Supp.2d 1151 (E.D.Cal.2005), (“Soghomonian I” ). In Soghomonian I, the court determined that, based on the facts of that case, even though “the credit report at issue … was [the husband’s], it [was] clear from the evidence that it actually [fell] within the statutory definition of credit report as to both [husband] and [wife].” Soghomonian I, 278 F.Supp.2d at 1167.
After finding a triable issue of fact in regards to the CRAs summary judgment on the FCRA claim, the District Court addressed plaintiff’s CLRA claim against the CRAs — finding it lacking because of the insufficiency of the substance of the pre-suit notice required by the CLRA:
The purpose of the notice requirement is “to give the manufacturer or vendor sufficient notice of alleged defects to permit appropriate corrections or replacements.” Stickrath v. Globalstar, Inc., 527 F.Supp.2d 992, 1001-1002 (N.D.Cal.2007), quoting Outboard Marine Corp. v.Super. Ct., 52 Cal.App.3d, 30, 40 (1975). The statutory provision is meant to “facilitate pre-complaint settlements of consumer actions wherever possible.” Von Grabe v. Sprint PCS, 312 F.Supp.2d 1285, 1303-1304 (S.D.Cal.2003), quoting Outboard Marine at 40-41.“[S]trict application of the [notice] requirement [is] necessary to achieve this goal.” Von Grabe at 1304.
In Roybal v. Equifax, 2008 WL 4532465 (E.D.Cal. 2008), Judge England addressed the liability of the furnisher, Rickerbacker. Judge England found the claim pre-empted:
The foregoing makes it clear that a private right of action against a furnisher of credit information exists only if the consumer has notified a CRA in the first instance. Under the FCRA, the CRAs then have an obligation to investigate whether the claim is frivolous or irrelevant. See15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a)(3). Once a claim is deemed viable, the CRAs must contact the furnisher of the credit information who is then afforded the opportunity to investigate and rectify erroneous reporting entries. See15 U.S .C. § 1681s-2(b). The furnisher’s duty to investigate, however, does not arise unless and until it receives notice of the credit reporting dispute directly from the CRAs. Bypassing the CRAs, as the filtering entities, and contacting the credit information furnishers directly does not actuate the furnishers obligation to investigate under the FCRA, and does not give rise to a private right of action against the furnishers on behalf of an allegedly aggrieved consumer. See Nelson, 282 F.3d at 1060. Applying these prerequisites for liability to the present case, in order for Plaintiffs to state a claim under the FCRA against a furnisher of credit information like Defendant Rickenbacker, Plaintiffs must show that they contacted the CRAs and that the CRAs, in turn, determined the claim was viable and contacted Rickenbacker, thereby triggering Rickenbacker’s duty to investigate.In the absence of such showing, Plaintiffs lack standing under the FCRA to pursue a private right of action against Rickenbacker. While Plaintiffs claim they contacted Rickenbacker directly, and also assert that they at least contacted the CRA Defendants by telephone, there is absolutely no evidence that the CRAs notified Rickenbacker directly of the purported inaccuracies so as to trigger Rickenbacker’s duty to investigate under the FCRA and the corresponding right on Plaintiffs’ behalf to bring an action against Rickenbacker alleging that any investigation and/or action subsequently taken was inadequate. WIthout that showing, Defendant Rickenbacker is entitled to summary judgment under the terms of the FCRA.
In Roybal v. Equifax, 2008 WL 4533473 (E.D.Cal. 2008), Judge England echoed his pre-emption analysis applied as to the defendant/furnisher Rickenbacker. However, as to defendant City Towing Body, Judge England also addressed plaintiff’s FDCPA claims:
Under both the FDCPA and its California counterpart, the so-called Rosenthal FDCPA, the applicable limitations period is one year. See 15 U.S .C. § 1692k(d) (federal); Cal. Civ.Code § 1788.30(f) (state). Here, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the FDCPA by “report[ing] false and derogatory information.”Pls.’ Amended Compl., ¶ 69. The same allegation is made with respect to Plaintiff’s allegations under the state-based Rosenthal FDCPA. Id . at ¶ 75.It is undisputed that the alleged credit reporting occurred in 1997 and 2001 (Undisputed Fact No. 5), and was discovered by Plaintiffs on or about December 13, 2003. Undisputed Fact No. 4. The present action was commenced on May 10, 2005, well beyond the one-year statute of limitations irrespective of how that date is calculated. Assuming, for example, that the statute began to run from the date the allegedly improper credit reports were made, the statute would have run in either 1998 or 2002, well before Plaintiffs’ lawsuit was filed in 2005. Conversely, even if the statute did not start until after Plaintiffs admit they discovered the inaccuracies in question on December 13, 2003, Plaintiff’s lawsuit was still not filed within the requisite one-year period. Plaintiffs’ FDCPA claims are accordingly time-barred