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Robertson v. Experian Information Solutions

April 22, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge


I. Introduction

On May 5, 2009, plaintiff Christine Robertson, a resident of Centennial, Colorado, filed this action against defendants Experian Services Corporation ("Experian"), Trans Union, LLC ("Trans Union") and National Recovery Agency, Inc. ("NRA") for damages she sustained when Experian and Trans Union allegedly distributed inaccurate information on her credit report. Defendants Experian and Trans Union filed motions for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the motions are denied in part and granted in part.

II. Background

This litigation relates to a collection account that plaintiff claims was improperly reported in credit reports supplied by Trans Union and Experian beginning in 2009. Experian's Statement of Material Facts ("SMF") ¶ 7. The account was first reported by defendant NRA on January 29, 2009. Experian's SMF ¶ 8.*fn1 This collection account allegedly arose out of a debt owed to BMG Music Club which plaintiff claims she paid. (Doc. 32 pg. 1). Robertson twice disputed the account with Experian and, allegedly, twice with Trans Union.*fn2

In response to plaintiff's first dispute, on March 28, 2009, Experian initiated its reinvestigation procedures by contacting NRA to verify the existence of the account. Experian's SMF ¶ 11. NRA responded by confirming the accuracy of the account on April 16, 2009. Experian's SMF ¶ 13. Consequently, Experian notified Robertson of the confirmation of the account and continued to report it on her credit report. Experian's SMF ¶ 14. On April 22, 2009, plaintiff again disputed the NRA information on her credit report. Likewise, on May 9, 2009, Robertson disputed the NRA item with Trans Union. Trans Union's SMF ¶ 9. Three day later Trans Union deleted the NRA item from plaintiff's credit report. Trans Union's SMF ¶ 9. Experian was informed once again by NRA that the collection account information was correct. Experian's SMF ¶ 19. Subsequently, on or about June 23, 2009, NRA contacted Experian and requested it delete the collection account from its credit reports. Experian's SMF ¶ 22.

Plaintiff filed the instant litigation on May 5, 2009 claiming the defendants Experian and Trans Union negligently and willfully violated 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681e(b) and 1681i by failing to maintain reasonable business procedures and failing to appropriately investigate her dispute. On May 12, 2009, Robertson amended her complaint. Subsequently, Experian and Trans Union filed the instant motions for summary judgment.

III. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, we may grant summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In reviewing the evidence, we must construe facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d 538, 553 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered for the moving party "[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party." Id. at 586-87 (citations omitted).

The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating the basis for its motion and identifying portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct. at 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d at 274. It can discharge that burden by "showing . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325, 106 S.Ct. at 2554, 91 L.Ed.2d at 275.

An issue is "genuine" "only if a reasonable jury, considering the evidence presented, could find for the nonmoving party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir. 1988) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202, 211-12 (1986)). A fact is "material" when it would affect the outcome of the trial under governing law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d at 211.

When a moving party has carried its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to demonstrate that an issue of material fact exists. The nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. at 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d at 552 (citations omitted). The nonmoving party "must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment," and cannot "simply reassert factually unsupported allegations contained in [the] pleadings." Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (citation omitted). "If the [nonmoving party's] evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson, 477 ...

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