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BOOTHE v. TRW CREDIT DATA

July 12, 1991

PHILIP BOOTHE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRW CREDIT DATA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kram, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff pro se Philip Boothe brings this action alleging defendant TRW Credit Data's ("TRW") violation of Sections 607(b) and 611 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA" or the "Act"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) and 1681i. The substance of Boothe's complaint is that he was denied credit as the result of TRW's having published an inaccurate credit profile.

Presently before the Court is TRW's motion, pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for an order granting it summary judgment dismissing the complaint. Boothe opposes the motion pro se.

BACKGROUND

TRW is in the business of furnishing credit information to its subscribers, which include banks and other lenders. This information is compiled from public records and from information submitted by the subscribers. TRW organizes this information into credit profiles, which it sends to its subscribers upon request. Consumers may request their credit profile directly from TRW.

In January 1987, Boothe borrowed $200.00 from Avco Financial Services ("AVCO"), a lender serving Southern California. In June 1987, AVCO, as a TRW subscriber, requested and received from TRW Boothe's credit profile. Subsequently, AVCO received no further information relating to Boothe. Affidavit of Gloria Micelli, sworn to May 18, 1990 ("Micelli Aff.") ¶ 17; Plaintiff's Opposing Answer to Defendant's Memo of Law ("Pl. Opp."), Exs. 26-28. AVCO continued to lend money to Boothe, approving a $700.00 loan in June 1987 and an $800.00 loan in October 1987.

On January 5, February 12 and June 15, 1987, TRW mailed to Boothe copies of his credit profile in response to his requests. On or about August 20, 1987, Boothe returned the credit profile dated February 12, 1987 and disputed the profile's inclusion of a bankruptcy petition Boothe had filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York in July 1981. On September 25, 1987, Boothe further objected to his credit profile, contending that the reported balance due on a loan from New York State Higher Education Services ("NYSHE") was inaccurate because it failed to reflect several payments he had made to reduce the loan.

In response to these claims, TRW sent a Consumer Dispute Verification ("CDV") form to Service Abstract, a firm that searches court documents and compiles legal data. Service Abstract confirmed the accuracy of Boothe's bankruptcy filing by obtaining a copy of the bankruptcy petition and the court order that ultimately dismissed it. Micelli Aff. ¶ 9, Ex. E. TRW also sent a CDV form to NYSHE to determine the accuracy of the outstanding balance reported for its loan to Boothe. NYSHE returned the form and confirmed the accuracy of the outstanding loan balance reflected in TRW's records and contained in Boothe's credit profile. Micelli Aff. ¶ 7, Ex. C. In a letter dated December 1, 1987, TRW informed Boothe that both contested items were accurate. See Pl.Opp. Ex. C-2.

On December 9, 1987, December 28, 1987 and March 8, 1988, Boothe wrote to TRW requesting that a consumer statement be added to his credit profile noting that he still disagreed with NYSHE and the accuracy of the bankruptcy petition. Pl.Opp., Exs. B-2(a), E, F. On or about March 15, 1988, TRW added a statement to Boothe's credit profile that read: "I dispute the amount NYSHE says I owe," and immediately notified Boothe of its inclusion of such statement. TRW did not include a similar statement for Boothe's bankruptcy petition. Pl.Opp., Ex. 28.

In early May 1988, Boothe applied for, and was denied, a $300.00 loan from AVCO. Pl.Opp., Exs. M & N. Boothe advised TRW of AVCO's action in a letter dated May 16, 1988. Pl.Opp., Ex. G-1. In the letter, Boothe also complained that the consumer statement added to his credit profile in March of that year was not sufficiently specific. Id. In a letter dated May 23, 1988, TRW requested Boothe to supply the "exact statement" he wished to have included in his profile. Boothe never responded to this request. Reply Affidavit of Mark S. Sullivan, sworn to June 19, 1990 ("Sullivan Aff.") ¶ 12, Exs. A, B.

The gravamen of Boothe's complaint is that AVCO denied him credit on the basis of an inaccurate credit profile from TRW. Boothe also alleges that TRW failed to include a proper consumer statement indicating that he disputed certain information appearing in his credit profile. Specifically, with respect to his bankruptcy filing, Boothe alleges that TRW failed to incorporate a consumer statement reflecting that his bankruptcy petition "was not a Petition for one who owed a big sum of money; but was to ease the pressure of HUD . . . `off my back', to resolve the circumstances." Rebuttal to Affidavit of Micelli dated May 18, 1990, at ¶ 1. With respect to the NYSHE loan, Booth alleges that TRW failed to include a sufficiently specific statement indicating that he disputed the balance of his AVCO loan. Boothe seeks $100,000.00 in damages for economic loss and emotional distress stemming from TRW's alleged failure to comply with certain FCRA requirements.

TRW now moves for an order, pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, granting it summary judgment dismissing the complaint. TRW contends that the undisputed facts establish that Boothe's credit profile was entirely accurate and that it is entitled to summary judgment dismissing the complaint as a matter of law.

DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment ...


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