In Landini v. FIA Card Services, National Association, 2014 WL 587520 (N.D.Cal. 2014), Magistrate Judge Lloyd granted summary judgment on two matters filed by the Sagaria law group alleging that a debt collector’s affirmation of pre-bankruptcy historical reporting after bankruptcy was filed did not result in FCRA liability. The facts were as follows:
Landini opened a credit card account with FIA in November 2001. See Declaration of Dawn Vaughn, Dkt. 33–1, at ¶ 2 (“Vaughn Decl.”). She failed to make a payment in April 2009 and made no further payments thereafter. Id. at ¶ 3. In November 2009, FIA charged off the account. Id. at ¶ 4. Nearly two years later, on October 21, 2011, Landini filed for bank-ruptcy and included her FIA account. See Declaration of Celeste Landini, Dkt. 35–3, at ¶ 3 (“Landini Decl.”). The account was discharged by order of the bankruptcy court on January 24, 2012. Id. at ¶ 5. ¶ In October 2012, Landini sent a dispute letter to Experian advising that the charge off notations on her FIA account in October 2011 and January 2012 were inaccurate because the account was discharged through bankruptcy. See Declaration of Joe Ibarguen, Dkt. 35–5, at ¶ 5, Ex. A (“Ibarguen Decl.”). In No-vember, Experian sent FIA an Automated Consumer Dispute Verification (ACDV) informing FIA of Lan-dini’s dispute and requesting that FIA verify the ac-curacy of the information.FN1 FIA responded to the ACDV in December confirming the accuracy of its information.FN2 Experian then sent Landini and Re-investigation Report dated December 21, 2012. See Declaration of Cristyn N. Chadwick, Dkt. 33–2, Ex. H (“Chadwick Decl.”). That report indicates that FIA reported that the account had a $0 balance and was discharged through bankruptcy in January 2012. Id. It does not show any charge off notations, nor does it indicate that any of the information is disputed. Id. FIA conceded that it did in fact report the account as charged off in October 2011. See Amended Declara-tion of Jarrett S. Osborne–Revis, Dkt. 37–1, Ex. D (“Am. Osborne–Revis Decl.”). Landini asserts that FIA also reported the account as charged off in January 2012.
Magistrate Judge Lloyd granted summary judgment to the defendant:
[I]t is undisputed that FIA charged off Landini’s account in November 2009; therefore, its reporting of the account as charged off in October 2011 was not inaccurate. Even if after receiving notice of Landini’s dispute FIA continued to report Landini’s account as charged off as of October 20011, it would only be reporting historically accurate information. As courts in this district have consistently held, the reporting of historically accurate information, including charge offs, regarding a debt discharged through bankruptcy is not misleading pursuant to the FCRA. See, e.g., Mortimer v. Bank of America, N.A., No. C–12–01959 JCS, 2013 WL 1501452 (N.D. Cal. April 10, 2013) (“[T]he historical fact remains that Plaintiff’s account was delinquent in those months … the report contains only accurate information and is not misleading”); Giovanni v. Bank of America, N.A., No. C 12–02530 LB, 2013 WL 1663335 (N.D. Cal. April 17, 2013) (“[T]he ‘charge off’ notation does not support liability, either.”). ¶ Landini also argues that she need not prove that FIA actually reported inaccurate information, as long as she demonstrates that FIA’s investigation was unreasonable. However, as here, where there is evidence that a furnisher received notice of the dispute and conducted some investigation, regardless of how superficial the investigation actually was, the Court cannot conclude it was unreasonable when the furnisher provided only accurate information in the first place. ¶ Landini has not established that FIA reported any inaccurate or materially misleading information, nor has she demonstrated the existence of a bona fide dispute such that FIA’s failure to report the dispute constitutes incomplete reporting pursuant to the FCRA. Accordingly, the Court finds that Landini has failed to show the existence of a genuine dispute of a material fact, and FIA is entitled to summary judgment on the FCRA claim.
Magistrate Judge Lloyd granted summary judgment in another case filed by the Sagaria law firm, Sheridan v. FIA Card Services, N.A., 2014 WL 587739 (N.D.Cal. 2014), based on similar facts and legal principles:
Sheridan’s arguments are not novel and have all been recently rejected by Courts in this district. See Mortimer v. Bank of America, N.A., No. C–12–01959 JCS, 2013 WL 150142 (N.D. Cal. April 10, 2013); Giovanni v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. C 12–02530 LB, 2013 WL 1663335 (N.D. Cal. April 17, 2013). In Mortimer, the court held that it was not inaccurate to report overdue payments during a pending bankruptcy because “[r]egardless of whether the debt owed … was subsequently retroactively discharged, the historical fact remains that Plaintiff’s account was delinquent in those months.” Mortimer, 2013 WL 150142, at *11. Similarly here, it is undisputed that Sheridan had not made any payments for several months before filing for bankruptcy, and that did she did not make any payments while her bankruptcy was pending in January or February 2010. Thus, it was factually accurate for FIA to report that her accounts were past due during those months, and such reporting of historically accurate information does not later become inaccurate under the FCRA when the debts are subsequently discharged through bankruptcy. ¶ The Mortimer court also rejected the argument that failure to comply with industry standards violates the FCRA where the information itself is nonetheless true. Id. at * 12 (“To the extent that the account was delinquent during the pendency of the bankruptcy, failure to comply with the CDIA guidelines does not render the report incorrect.”). Sheridan attempts to distinguish the instant case from Mortimer because there the plaintiff failed to plead any facts suggesting that such reporting was misleading, whereas here, potential lenders Macy’s and Credit Care were misled by FIA’s inconsistent reporting. Sheridan’s declaration provides that she was denied credit cards because of the “serious delinquencies” on her Experian credit report. However, this does not suggest that potential lenders were misled because the reporting was inconsistent with industry guidelines as much as it suggests that they were deterred by a factually accurate depiction of Sheridan’s credit history. Accordingly, this Court does not think that such reporting is materially misleading, notwithstanding any noncompliance with industry guidelines. ¶ Finally, Sheridan argues that it is inaccurate or misleading to report delinquent payments and a zero balance in the same months. The Court has already found that it was not inaccurate to report delinquent payments during bankruptcy, and Sheridan does not argue that the retroactive reporting of a zero balance upon bankruptcy discharge is inaccurate. Accordingly, neither item of information is “patently incorrect” or “inaccurate on its face.” See Drew, 690 F.3d at 1108. Furthermore, the Court does not find that FIA’s reporting delinquent payments and a zero balance is materially misleading because any perceived inconsistency is unlikely to adversely affect credit decisions, particularly where the report also clearly notes that the account was discharged in bankruptcy. See Giovanni, 2013 WL 1663335, at *6–7 (finding that simultaneously reporting overdue payment notations and a zero past due balance is not patently incorrect or materially misleading). ¶ Sheridan has not established that FIA reported any inaccurate or materially misleading information. Moreover, Sheridan has not demonstrated the existence of a bona fide dispute such that FIA’s failure to report that the information was disputed constitutes incomplete reporting pursuant to the FCRA. Accordingly, the Court finds that Sheridan has failed to show the existence of a genuine dispute of a material fact, and FIA is entitled to summary judgment on the FCRA claim.
Magistrate Judge Lloyd granted summary judgment in a third case as well, on basically the same legal principles. Mejia v. Bank of America, National Association, 2014 WL 587417 (N.D.Cal. 2014)