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Peter Dickman v. Verizon Communications

June 28, 2012

PETER DICKMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS, INC. DOING BUSINESS AS VERIZON WIRELESS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurley, Senior District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Peter Dickman alleges that Defendant Verizon Communications Inc., doing business as Verizon Wireless ("defendant" or "Verizon"), has violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. ("FCRA") and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349 et seq. Presently before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

The following facts, taken from the parties' Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statements,*fn1 are largely disputed, as noted below.

The Original Account

In approximately 2002 or 2003, plaintiff moved to 136-14 Northern Boulevard, in Queens, New York. At plaintiff's request, defendant began to provide him with telephone and DSL services under account number 718-358-6431-076 (the "Original Account"). Plaintiff asserts that after approximately four years, his telephone and DSL services were "disconnected out of nowhere." (Pl.'s Dep. at 9.) Plaintiff asserts that, after speaking to one of defendant's customer service representatives, he learned that his services could not be reactivated under the Original Account. (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff's final bill from defendant showed that plaintiff had paid off a "Past Due" amount of $258.27 on May 31, 2006. (Aff'n of Amir Goldstein, dated Nov. 10, 2011 ("Goldstein Aff'n") Ex. 3 at 1.) The bill also showed that Verizon actually owed plaintiff a $33.63 credit because although plaintiff's services were discontinued on June 19, 2006, he had already been billed for (and paid for) services through July 9, 2006. (Id. at 2.)

The New Account

Plaintiff contends that after the Original Account was disconnected, he did not receive any further services from defendant. (Pl.'s Dep. at 13.) Defendant disputes this assertion, and contends that plaintiff opened a new account, number 718-358-6431-174 (the "New Account"), on or about June 19, 2006. (Aff'n of Wendy Tobias, dated Sept. 19, 2011 ("Tobias Aff'n"), Ex. E.) During his deposition, plaintiff denied opening the New Account and denied ever receiving any bills for the New Account. (Pl'.s Dep. at 15.)

The Disputed Documents

Defendant asserts that the New Account was billed on June 19, 2006, July 19, 2006, August 19, 2006, and September 1, 2006. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 16.) During his deposition, plaintiff was shown four documents that corresponded to these dates. (Pl.'s Dep. at 15-17.) The first document (the "June 19 Document") has a Verizon logo and the following header:

Telephone Number: 718-358-6431

Account Number: 7183586431174 Statement Ending: Jun 19, 2006 12:00:00 AM (Tobias Aff'n, Ex. E at 1.) At the top of the June 19 Document is a message stating: "PETER DICKMAN Thank You for Choosing Verizon!" (Id.) The June 19 Document contains an "Account Summary," which lists "New Charges" in the amount of $178.64. (Id.) The June 19 Document states: "These monthly charges are for your service from June 19 to July 18." (Id.) The "Itemized Calls" section of the June 19 Document shows that 110 local calls were made at a rate of 9 cents per call. (Id. at 3.)

The second document (the "July 19 Document") has an identical format to the June 19 Document, but indicates that it is a "Statement Ending July 19, 2006" and that the listed monthly charges "are for your service from July 19 to August 18." (Id. at 5.) The July 19 Document's "Account Summary" shows "Previous Charges" in the amount of $178.64 and "New Charges" in the amount of $30.10. (Id.) The July 19 Document reflects that sixty-four local calls were made. (Id. at 7.)

The third document (the "August 19 Document") contains an identical header, except that it indicates that it is a "Statement Ending Aug. 19, 2006" and lists "monthly charges [ ] for your service from August 19 to September 18." (Id. at 8.) The "Account Summary" lists "Previous Charges" in the amount of $208.74 and "New Charges" in the amount of $26.89, which includes charges for nine local calls. (Id. at 8, 10.)

The fourth document (the "September 1 Document") again contains the same header along with an indication that it is a "Statement Ending Sep. 1, 2006." (Id. at 11.) The September 1 Document includes the notation "FINAL BILL" and states: "These monthly charges are for your service from September 01 to September 30." (Id.) The "Account Summary" lists "Previous Charges" in the amount of $235.63, but also reflects a credit of $35.22. (Id.) The "Total Due" is listed as $200.41. (Id.)

When shown these four documents during his deposition, plaintiff denied ever receiving them. (Pl.'s Dep. at 15-17.) Plaintiff did acknowledge, however, that each of the four documents described above contained the phone number associated with the Original Account. (See id.)

Deposition Testimony of Chanda Bishop

Chanda Bishop, employed since 1997 as a staff manager in the Verizon Collections Center, testified at her deposition that her current job duties include overseeing "final[ ] collection strategies." (Bishop Dep. at 5-7.) Bishop did not have any direct involvement with plaintiff or the Original or New Accounts. (Id. at 19-20.)

1. The Disputed Documents

Bishop reviewed copies of the June 19, July 19, August 19, and September 1 Documents, and she testified that the Documents were "not the actual bill[s]" for the New Account, but were "similar [in] format" to actual bills. (Id. at 39.) Specifically, Bishop testified that the Documents were internal documents that set forth the information that was included on the bills sent out to the customer, but differed from the actual bills in that they contained internal codes in the place of certain "verbiage" contained in the bills. (Id. at 42.) Bishop further testified that nothing on the face of any of the four Documents indicated the date on which they were generated. (See id. at 46.)

2. Verizon's Interactions and Correspondence with Credit Reporting Agencies

According to Bishop, when Verizon makes a determination that it will report delinquent account information to credit reporting agencies ("CRAs"), that account information is sent to one or more outside vendors. Those vendors format the account data ...


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