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Keith A. Holmes, Inc v. Experian Information Solutions

September 30, 2011

KEITH A. HOLMES, INC.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS,
DEFENDANT.



The decision of the court was delivered by: Thomas P. Griesa, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff Keith A. Holmes brings this pro se action alleging that Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian") placed inaccurate information in his credit report, which adversely impacted his "credit score" and prevented him from obtaining financing. Holmes's claim is for negligence.

Experian moves for summary judgment. The motion is granted.

FACTS

The following facts are undisputed except where otherwise indicated.

Holmes is an entrepreneur conducting business in real estate acquisition and development. He lives in New York and has invested in various properties throughout New York State. Experian is a company that collects and disseminates information used to determine credit scores. Its headquarters are in California.

In January 2005, a service called Equifax reported that Holmes had a credit score of 706. This credit score, Holmes alleges, was high enough to enable him to obtain credit to finance his projects. However, at some point in the spring of 2005, Experian erroneously noted two default judgments from a state court in Bronx County from January and April of that year in Holmes's credit file. The judgments, totaling approximately $13,000, listed "Keith P. Holmes, Sr." as the defendant, who had a different home address and social security number from plaintiff Holmes. The judgments were not against plaintiff Holmes.

By August Holmes's credit score, as reported by Experian, had declined to 536. At this time, Holmes's brother told Holmes that there were two judgments referred to in credit information about Holmes. Holmes then requested a copy of his credit report from Kroll Factual Data, a supplier of credit information. Kroll faxed Holmes a "residential merged credit report" (the Kroll Report) that drew information from three separate credit reporting agencies including Experian. The judgments were listed in the Kroll Report. Holmes has testified that he spoke to someone at Kroll who said that the information about the judgments came from Experian. This was indeed the case.

Holmes contends that his credit score declined between January and August 2005 solely because of the erroneously listed judgments. Experian disputes this and asserts that the record shows various other unfavorable circumstances about Holmes's financial condition in 2005.

In late 2005, Holmes contacted Experian and asked that the judgments in Keith P. Holmes's name be removed from his credit file. Experian received Holmes's request on December 5, 2005, and removed the judgments the next day. Holmes claims that Experian made no effort to contact other companies who may have placed derogatory information about the two judgments in Holmes's credit report. However, Holmes has offered no evidence that any other credit reporting companies actually reported the two judgments.

Holmes claims that it was necessary for him to refinance his existing obligations in August 2005. He also asserts, however, that he did not try to obtain refinancing prior to February 2006, when he attempted to refinance his adjustable rate mortgage on his home. Although Holmes did not apply for credit while the erroneous judgments were on his Experian report, Holmes claims that individuals with bad credit are not supposed to attempt to refinance until these issues are resolved and their credit has improved. Holmes states that "applying for financing with damaged credit is an exercise in futility."

In February 2006, Holmes applied for credit from the lender Centex Home Equity Company, LLC. He wanted to refinance the adjustable rate mortgage. The rate on this mortgage was set to readjust from 6.00% to 11.00% in April of 2006. Holmes's credit application was denied based, in whole or in part, on a credit report from "First American Credco." The reason for this denial was "Value or Type of Collateral not Sufficient." Holmes claims that his inability to refinance in August 2005 because of his low credit score caused him to fall behind on payments, which caused Centex Home Equity to deny his February 2006 credit application.

Holmes alleges that as result of Experian's negligence, he was unable to refinance his residence and two investment properties in addition to losing other real estate investment opportunities. However, Holmes has not provided evidence that First American Credco. or Centex Home Equity Company, LLC knew about ...


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