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Gustafson v. Experian Information Solutions Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

May 21, 2014

RAINA GUSTAFSON, Plaintiff,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS INC.; SYSTEMS & SERVICES TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; HSBC BANK USA NATIONAL ASSOCIATION; DOES 1-10, inclusive, Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT SYSTEMS & SERVICES TECHNOLOGIES, INC.'S MOTION TO DISMISS [14]

OTIS D. WRIGHT, II, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Raina Gustafson alleges that Defendant Systems & Services Technologies, Inc. ("SST") violated myriad federal and state debt-collection laws by allegedly "double reporting" a debt. Gustafson contends that SST inaccurately reported the same $705 debt twice, though under different names and with different account numbers, and failed to accurately conduct an investigation after receiving dispute notice from her and Defendant Experian Information Solutions Inc. Various federal-law provisions limit her ability to privately enforce her claims and preempt portions of her state-law claims. But the Court finds that she has adequately pleaded the remainder of her claims. The Court therefore GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART SST's Motion to Dismiss.[1] (ECF No. 14.)

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

SST is a loan servicing and payment processing company, which reports delinquent debts to credit bureaus and is a "furnisher" under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-81x. (Compl. ¶ 2.)

On February 8, 2012, Gustafson obtained a copy of her Experian credit report and discovered two entries for an SST account. ( Id. ¶ 8.) The first account read "SST/CIGPFICORP, Account #1970xxxxxx; Status: charged off $705; Status Details: this account is scheduled to continue on record until March 2014." ( Id. ) The second entry listed "SST/SYNOVUS, Account #XXXXXXXXXXXXxxx; Status: Closed $705 written off." ( Id. )

In February 2012, September 2013, October 2013, November 2013, December 2013, and January 2014, Gustafson requested that Experian investigate and remove one of the SST accounts that was allegedly being double reported. ( Id. ¶ 16.)

Gustafson obtained subsequent credit reports on October 22, 2013, and November 11, 2013, and noted the same two SST entries. ( Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) The November 2013 report further stated that the credit grantor had verified the accuracy of the entries and would not engage in further investigation of Gustafson's disputes. ( Id. ¶ 11.)

On February 26, 2014, Gustafson filed this action against, among others, SST, alleging violations of FCRA; California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788-88.3; the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-92p; and the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act ("CCCRAA"), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1785.1-85.6. (ECF No. 1.) On April 23, 2014, SST moved to dismiss Gustafson's Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 14.) Gustafson timely opposed. (ECF No. 17.) That Motion is now before the Court for decision.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for lack of a cognizable legal theory or insufficient facts pleaded to support an otherwise cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To survive a dismissal motion, a complaint need only satisfy the minimal notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2)-a short and plain statement of the claim. Porter v. Jones, 319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir. 2003). The factual "allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). That is, the complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

The determination whether a complaint satisfies the plausibility standard is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. A court is generally limited to the pleadings and must construe all "factual allegations set forth in the complaint... as true and... in the light most favorable" to the plaintiff. Lee v. City of L.A., 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001). But a court need not blindly accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of fact, and unreasonable inferences. Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001).

As a general rule, a court should freely give leave to amend a complaint that has been dismissed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). But a court may deny leave to amend when "the court determines that the allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the deficiency." Schreiber Distrib. Co. v. Serv-Well Furniture Co., 806 ...


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