• Furnisher Awarded Summary Judgment Because Plaintiff Lacked Evidence that CRAs Provided Notice of Plaintiffs' Dispute to Defendant Furnisher
  • April 21, 2010 | Author: Martin Thornthwaite
  • Law Firm: Strasburger & Price, LLP - Frisco Office
  • Plaintiffs, a mother and father, disputed Defendant’s medical bill related to services their son received after an accident involving an all terrain vehicle. They claimed that the medical provider did not provide sufficient information documenting the expenses charged for their son’s treatment. Plaintiffs sent a letter to the three credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”) advising them that they disputed the medical provider’s bill. The day after the dispute letter was sent, the medical provider assigned the debt to the Defendant collection agency. The collection agency sent Plaintiffs a collection letter, but it was returned as undeliverable. As a result, the collection agency requested a copy of Plaintiffs’ consumer reports to determine Plaintiffs’ address. The collection agency resent the letter and reported the debt to the CRAs. Plaintiffs brought claims against the collection agency and its attorney under the FCRA and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). With respect to the FCRA, Plaintiffs claimed the collection agency violated § 1681s-2(b) and § 1681b.   Defendants filed motions for summary judgment on all claims, and the Court dismissed the FCRA claims in their entirety.

    • Notification. Pursuant to § 1681s-2(b), Plaintiffs are required to show that that a CRA notified the furnisher of the dispute. Because Plaintiffs offered no evidence that any CRA notified the collection agency of a dispute regarding the completeness or accuracy of information furnished by it to a CRA, the Court dismissed this claim on summary judgment.
    • Permissible Purpose. Under § 1681b, a person may only obtain a consumer’s report from a CRA for a purpose authorized by the FCRA. A permissible purpose includes collection of an account. Since Plaintiffs offered no evidence that the collection agency’s intent in requesting the consumer report was for a purpose other than collecting a debt, summary judgment for the collection agency was granted.
    • Permissible Purpose. Additionally, the father argued that the collection agency did not have a permissible purpose because he had no direct involvement with obtaining medical services for his son. However, the Court found that the father did initiate the transaction because he testified, during his deposition, that he was with his wife when she electronically authorized treatment for their son.