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Farrell v. Boeing Employees Credit Union

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 26, 2017



          NATHANAEL M. COUSINS, United States Magistrate Judge

         In this unfair debt collection case, defendants Boeing Employees Credit Union and Moore Brewer & Wolfe move for summary judgment, and plaintiff Daniel Farrell filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The parties filed a Joint Stipulation setting forth the three questions the Court was to answer at summary judgment. Because the Court finds in favor of Boeing and Moore on each of these questions, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary judgment, and DENIES Farrell's cross-motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Stipulated Facts

         In the Joint Stipulation, the parties stipulated to the following facts:

         This case arises from a motor vehicle financing agreement Farrell failed to maintain. Dkt. No. 76 at 1 (Joint Stipulation Regarding Facts; and, Questions of Law). Boeing filed a complaint on or about May 28, 2010, in California state court, for breach of the retail installment contract. Id. at 2. Moore, Boeing's attorney, succeeded in obtaining a default judgment against Farrell, who did not respond to the complaint, for both physical repossession of the motor vehicle at issue and the full amount on the contract. Id. On behalf of Boeing, Moore recorded an Abstract of Judgment. Id. Farrell's car was repossessed on June 8, 2011. Id.

         In 2012, Farrell moved to Indiana, and Moore, on behalf of Boeing, obtained an earnings withholding order, which was submitted to the Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) of the United States Government pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 5520a. Id. at 3. Through DFAS, Moore and Boeing garnished Farrell's wages. Id. When Farrell moved to Texas in September 2014, DFAS continued to garnish his wages there. That garnishment went on until November 2015. Id. The California judgment was not domesticated in Indiana or Texas. Id.

         B. Procedural History

         Farrell filed his complaint in Monterey County Superior Court on April 11, 2016. Dkt. No. 1 at 1. Boeing and Moore removed the case to federal court on May 19, 2016. Id. Boeing and Moore subsequently filed multiple motions to dismiss portions of the complaint. Dkt. Nos. 14, 39, 56. The result of these motions was the amendment of the Fair Credit Reporting Act claim and the ultimate dismissal of Farrell's IIED claim. Farrell filed a second amended complaint on November 16, 2016. Dkt. No. 55. The parties filed a Joint Stipulation of Facts and Questions of Law with the Court, which the Court granted. Dkt. No. 76. The parties set forth three questions for the Court to decide on at summary judgment, and stipulated that if Farrell prevailed, the case would go forward to trial, but if defendants prevailed, this case would be dismissed in its entirety as a matter of law. Id. at 4-5. The parties subsequently filed the cross-motions for summary judgment. The Court will discuss each of the three questions below.

         All parties consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Dkt. Nos. 10, 18.


         Summary judgment may be granted only when, drawing all inferences and resolving all doubts in favor of the nonmoving party, there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1863 (2014); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material when, under governing substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is genuine if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. Bald assertions that genuine issues of material fact exist are insufficient. Galen v. Cnty. of L.A., 477 F.3d 652, 658 (9th Cir. 2007).

         The moving party bears the burden of identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery, and affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once the moving party meets its initial burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings, and, by its own affidavits or discovery, set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue of fact exists for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Barthelemy v. Air Lines Pilots Ass'n, 897 F.2d 999, 1004 (9th Cir. 1990) (citing Steckl v. Motorola, Inc., 703 F.2d 392, 393 (9th Cir. 1983)). All justifiable inferences, however, must be drawn in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Tolan, 134 S.Ct. at 1863 (citing Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255).

         III. ...

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