• Furnisher Granted Summary Judgment Upon Reconsideration Because It Had No Duty to Repeat an Investigation After Receiving Information It Already Knew
  • April 29, 2010 | Author: Martin Thornthwaite
  • Law Firm: Strasburger & Price, LLP - Frisco Office
  • Drew v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, et al., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25979 (N.D. Cal. March 20, 2010)

    Facts: Plaintiff sued Defendants after his identity was compromised and fraudulent accounts appeared on his consumer reports. Defendants sought reconsideration of the denial of their motions for summary judgment. Specifically, Chase Bank USA (“Chase”) challenged the Court’s finding that it was not entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s § 1681s-2(b) reasonable investigation claim regarding disputed credit card accounts. Additionally, FIA Card Services (“FIA”) urged the Court to reconsider its statute of limitations defense to Plaintiff’s § 1681s-2(b) claim, and Equifax joined and adopted FIA’s motion. The Court granted Chase and FIA’s motions for reconsideration and entered summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims against them, but denied Equifax’s motion for reconsideration.

    • Reinvestigation. Furnishers are not required to repeat earlier investigations if they “do not have new information” from the consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) or have “reason to doubt the result of the earlier investigation.” Chase had previously confirmed that the account at issue was fraudulent and had already closed the account and reported it as lost or stolen. The Court held that Chase had no duty to repeat its earlier investigation after it received information that it already knew. Further, Plaintiff’s evidence, a consumer report from a third party, that purportedly showed Chase incorrectly reported the account constituted inadmissible hearsay and was unauthenticated. An Equifax file that also may have indicated the account reported incorrectly lacked foundation and also constituted inadmissible hearsay.
    • Statute of Limitations. The statue of limitations for a § 1681s-2(b) claim accrues when a consumer discovers that the furnisher failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into the fraudulent account. Plaintiff’s claim against FIA was barred because he failed to bring suit over two years after discovering a possible violation, even after taking into consideration additional months of equitable tolling when Plaintiff underwent cancer treatment. 
    • Summary Judgment. The Court found that Equifax’s motion for reconsideration improperly introduced a new sub-issue that was not part of its motion for summary judgment. Equifax’s motion adopted FIA’s statute of limitations arguments but failed to explain how they applied to the disputed facts related to the reasonableness of Equifax’s reinvestigation of a separate dispute.