No inaccuracies; no FCRA claim, according to the Ninth Circuit

In Florence v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., No. 18-15413 (9th Cir. Aug. 13, 2019) in an unpublished opinion the Ninth Circuit affirmed a judgment for credit reporting agency on a FCRA claim on the basis that the consumer could not identify an inaccuracy credit reporting.

Consumers contended that the credit reporting agency (“CRA”) violated the FCRA by failing to correct inaccurate information on the consumers’ consumer reports following reinvestigations of disputed information. The consumers, however, did not identify any inaccuracy in the rereporting of the consumers’ mortgage loan accounts. The rereported accounts were not patently incorrect because they showed that they were either closed or discharged in bankruptcy. The reports did not show any negative information, such as inaccurate payment history or balances due, for any period after the bankruptcy discharge or even after the consumers had begun their Chapter 13 confirmed plan.

The Court went on to add that even if the “account history” section on the one of the accounts was inaccurate, the section only appears on the disclosure to consumers for informational purposes, not on the reports provided to creditors. Therefore, it could not form the basis of an FCRA claim requiring a plaintiff to make a “prima facie showing of inaccurate reporting.” There was no information on the account reported to creditors that suggests that consumers had a balance or were late on a payment after the discharge.

Nor did the Court deem the CRA’s rereporting was rendered materially misleading by its failure to comply with the Metro 2 guidelines. A deviation from the guidelines will not render the reporting “misleading in such a way and to such an extent that it [could] be expected to adversely affect credit decisions,” because the tradelines on the reports clearly indicated to lenders that either the relevant accounts had been closed or the debts had been discharged in bankruptcy.

Finally, the rereporting was not rendered materially misleading by the report’s absence of a statement of dispute from the consumers. The FCRA requires the consumer to file a brief statement setting forth the nature of the dispute if the consumer finds the reinvestigation does not resolve the dispute. After the CRA finished the reinvestigations, the consumers did not submit a subsequent statement of dispute.

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