In Abernathy v. Continental Service Group, Inc. d/b/a/ Conserve, et. al., 2018 WL 3370524, at *6–7 (D.Nev., 2018), Judge Gordon found that a furnisher properly re-investigated a consumer dispute, evaluating prior disputes in context as well as how much information the consumer gave in the dispute itself.
Abernathy’s first dispute letter to Experian stated the ConServe account was “not familiar.” ECF No. 29-1 at 15. Experian’s ACDV stated the nature of the dispute was “001-Not his/hers. Provide complete ID.” Id. at 22. No supporting documentation was provided. In response to this dispute, ConServe requested documentation from CSN to validate the debt, ultimately reaching out twice. ECF No. 31-1 at 36–37. CSN provided an itemized account statement and a screenshot from its record system. Id. at 37. Based on this documentation, ConServe responded to the ACDV, stating the account was valid and paid in full. Id. at 38; ECF No. 29-1 at 22.  This was a reasonable investigation given the information provided to ConServe by Experian. Abernathy’s only dispute with the information was that the account was not his. ConServe confirmed with the originator of the debt (CSN) that the account was his and updated its reporting to show that the debt had been paid. Abernathy has not produced any evidence, or made any argument, to show why this first investigation was unreasonable. . . .The second ACDV Experian sent to ConServe stated the dispute reason as: “112 – Claims inaccurate information. Did not provide specific dispute. Provide complete ID and verify account information. PLEASE CONFIRM THE NEGATIVE NOTATION IN SEPTEMBER IS CORRECT. I BELIEVE THIS ACCOUNT IS MARKED IN THE WRONG MONTH.” ECF No. 29-2 at 27. In response, ConServe reviewed the documentation it had on file from Abernathy’s first dispute and determined the information was sufficient to respond to the second dispute. ECF No. 31-1 at 43–44. ConServe confirmed the account was a paid collection account and updated the demographic information it had on file. Id. It also updated the balance date from the date of its response to the first ACDV on September 7 to the date of this second response, October 6. ECF No. 29-2 at 27.  Abernathy provided no information to Experian or ConServe in his second dispute that would indicate “that the initial investigation lacked reliability or that new information was available to discover.” Drew v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 690 F.2d 1100, 1107–08 (9th Cir. 2012) (quotation omitted). Therefore, ConServe’s “decision not to repeat a previously[ ] conducted investigation cannot have been unreasonable.” Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1160.  The language in the ACDV did alert ConServe as to Abernathy’s dispute regarding a “negative notation in September.” However, there is no explanation as to what negative notation is referred to. ConServe’s initial ACDV response reported that the account had been closed on August 31, 2016. ECF No. 29-1 at 22. The only notation regarding September is the “Balance Date,” listed as September 7, 2016, or the date of ConServe’s response. Abernathy has produced no evidence to show that a reasonable investigation based on his dispute would have found the reporting of a zero balance as of the date of ConServe’s ACDV response to be inaccurate or require deletion. Therefore, I grant ConServe summary judgment on Abernathy’s FCRA claim.