The opinion of the court was delivered by: TELESCA
Plaintiff Richard L. Evans brings this action pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., claiming that the defendant published an erroneous credit report and as a result, he was denied a mortgage at Fleet Mortgage ("Fleet"), that he was unable to obtain other loans, and that when he eventually did receive loans, they were at "exorbitant" interest rates and was otherwise damaged.
Defendant Rochester Credit Center (incorrectly sued as The Credit Bureau) (herein after "the Bureau") moves for summary judgment on the ground that no genuine issue of material fact exists, and that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. For the reasons set forth below, the defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.
In August of 1993, plaintiff applied for pre-approval of a mortgage loan with Fleet and on August 18, 1993, Fleet requested a copy of plaintiff's credit report from the Bureau which was provided the same day. Fleet thereafter denied plaintiff's application for pre-approval of a mortgage loan. The plaintiff alleges that the loan application was denied because of inaccurate information contained in the credit report prepared by defendant. Subsequent to the denial of the loan, plaintiff notified defendant of the incorrect information contained in the report. Specifically, plaintiff claims that (1) one account should not have been listed on the report because the account was not in his name; (2) a judgment in favor of Viking Credit was for an incorrect amount; (3) another account should have read "paid off" instead of "closed"; and (4) accounts should have been listed as discharged in bankruptcy instead of "charged off".
Plaintiff claims defendant was not responsive to his concerns, that it did not include a notation on his credit report that he disputed certain items, and that it failed to initiate an investigation of his dispute until months after he had informed the Bureau of the discrepancies. Additionally, plaintiff claims that when the investigation was eventually conducted, it was performed in an incomplete and inadequate manner. Finally, plaintiff asserts that despite repeated attempts to have defendant remove the alleged inaccuracies from his report, defendant failed to act on any of his direct requests or the requests made by a credit repair service he retained.
I. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment may not be granted unless the submissions of the parties taken together "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Only disputes which arise over material facts, i.e., those which might affect the outcome of the case under governing law, should preclude the entry of summary judgment in favor of a moving party. Id.
A. Violation of FCRA § 1681i.
Credit reporting agencies are obligated to accurately report information obtained directly from available sources such as creditors or from public records. Section 1681i imposes responsibility upon the credit reporting agency to investigate claims of inaccurate reporting brought to its attention within a reasonable time and allow the consumer to make a statement of dispute to be placed in their credit record. Cahlin v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 936 F.2d 1151, 1160 (11th Cir. 1991). However, plaintiff incorrectly interprets FCRA to impose the additional responsibility upon the credit reporting agency to correct court records or other source information supplied by creditors.
For example, plaintiff presented the Ontario County Clerk's office with a Release between himself and Viking Credit which would then reflect the satisfaction of a recorded judgment in favor of Viking Credit against him. He does not argue that defendant did not accurately report the Viking Credit judgment as recorded in the public records of the Ontario County Court Clerk's office. Rather, plaintiff argues that it was defendant's obligation under their investigatory duties to remedy inaccuracies such as this even ...