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Huizar v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 28, 2017

SANDRA HUIZAR, Plaintiff,
v.
WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 42)

          LAWRENCE J. O'NEILL UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT TO PARTIES AND COUNSEL

         Judges in the Eastern District of California carry the heaviest caseloads in the nation, and this Court is unable to devote inordinate time and resources to individual cases and matters. Given the shortage of district judges and staff, this Court addresses only the arguments, evidence, and matters necessary to reach the decision in this order. The parties and counsel are encouraged to contact the offices of United States Senators Feinstein and Harris to address this Court's inability to accommodate the parties and this action. The parties are required to reconsider consent to conduct all further proceedings before a Magistrate Judge, whose schedules are far more realistic and accommodating to parties than that of U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill, who must prioritize criminal and older civil cases.

         Civil trials set before Chief Judge O'Neill trail until he becomes available and are subject to suspension mid-trial to accommodate criminal matters. Civil trials are no longer reset to a later date if Chief Judge O'Neill is unavailable on the original date set for trial. Moreover, this Court's Fresno Division randomly and without advance notice reassigns civil actions to U.S. District Judges throughout the nation to serve as visiting judges. In the absence of Magistrate Judge consent, this action is subject to reassignment to a U.S. District Judge from inside or outside the Eastern District of California.

         II. INTRODUCTION

         On March 6, 2017, Plaintiff Sandra Huizar (“Plaintiff”) filed the original complaint with this Court. Doc. 1, Complaint (“Compl.”). Through this suit, Plaintiff brings two claims: Count 1, violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq. against Defendants Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Trans Union LLC, and Equifax Information Services, LLC (collectively, “Credit Bureaus Defendants”); and Count 2, California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (“CCRAA”), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1785.1 et seq. against Defendants Bank of America, N.A., Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Comenity Bank / Lane Bryant (collectively, “Furnisher Defendants”). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Bank of America, N. A. (“Defendant”) violated the CCRAA by wrongfully reporting inaccurate derogatory information related to Plaintiff's credit score. Compl. ¶ 5.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's CCRAA claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff has filed her opposition (Doc. 31), and Defendant filed its reply (Doc. 32). The Court took the matter under submission on the papers pursuant to Local Rule 230(g). Doc. 33. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Defendant's motion

         III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND[1]

         On or about April 30, 2011, Plaintiff filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California (the “Bankruptcy”). Compl. ¶ 88.

         On or about July 13, 2011, Plaintiff was subsequently approved for a Bankruptcy Wage Earner Repayment Plan (the “Plan”). Id. ¶ 97. If Plaintiff completed repayment of the Plan to the Bankruptcy Trustee, she would extinguish her previous debt to Defendant. Id. ¶¶ 98, 99. Plaintiff complied with the terms of the Plan over the agreed three-year period. Id. ¶ 108. On or about September 3, 2014, the Bankruptcy Trustee filed the “Chapter 13 Standing Trustee's Final Report and Account” that reflected Plaintiff's completion of the Plan. Id. ¶ 109. Subsequently, the “Bankruptcy Noticing Center” put the Defendant on notice of the order through first class mail. Id. ¶ 109.

         On October 28, 2014, Plaintiff's successful completion of the Plan was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court's “Discharge of Debtor after Completion of Chapter 13 Plan” order. Id. ¶ 110. On or about October 28, 2014, the Bankruptcy Noticing Center put the Defendant on notice of the order through first class mail. Id. ¶ 111. Therefore, according to Plaintiff, Defendant's credit report should have reported the debt as “Discharged” with no outstanding amount owed, reflecting the completion of the Plan. Id. ¶ 212.

         Instead, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant, in its capacity as a consumer credit reporting agency (“CRA”), reported Plaintiff's account inaccurately in three separate credit reports. Plaintiff obtained two credit reports on June 27, 2016, and one credit report on September 29, 2016. Id. ¶¶ 185-87. Plaintiff alleges that on those reports Defendant “continued reporting information based on [Defendant's] pre-bankruptcy contract terms with the Plaintiff, which were no longer enforceable upon the bankruptcy filing and confirmation of the Bankruptcy Plan, thereby rendering the disputed information inaccurate and materially misleading.” Id. ¶ 115. Plaintiff alleges that credit reports furnished by Defendant inaccurately reflect Plaintiff as delinquent with a “charged off” status, and an outstanding balance amount of $82, 691 as of October 31, 2014. Id. ¶¶ 185-87. As Plaintiff asserts, “[Defendant] inaccurately and misleadingly suggested that Plaintiff still has a personal legal liability to pay the alleged Debt to [Defendant]” as opposed the true amount of $0. Id. ¶ 199. Thus, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant reported “inaccurate, misleading, and derogatory information” in these three reports because the reports should have reflected a “discharged” status with no outstanding amount owed, in violation of the CCRAA. Id. ¶ 185.

         IV. STANDARD OF DECISION

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is a challenge to the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in the complaint. Taylor v. Yee, 780 F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015). Dismissal of an action under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper where there is either a “lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted, the Court accepts the allegations in the complaint as true, construes the pleading in the ...


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