United States District Court, E.D. California
DANIEL BRUNO, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC and GENEVA FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO STRIKE
WILLIAM B. SHUBB, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Daniel Bruno brought this putative class action against
defendants Equifax Information Services, LLC
(“Equifax”) and Geneva Financial Services, LLC
(“Geneva”),  alleging that defendants sold his and
putative class members' consumer reports to other parties
for impermissible marketing purposes in violation of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). (Compl. (Docket
No. 1).) Before the court are plaintiff's Motions to
strike each of the defenses alleged in defendants'
Answers. (Pl.'s Mot. as to Equifax (Docket No. 41);
Pl.'s Mot. as to Geneva (Docket No. 43).)
Factual and Procedural Background
is a California resident. (See Compl. Ex. B, Car Loan Notice
(indicating plaintiff resides in California) (Docket No.
1-2).) Equifax is a credit reporting agency. (Compl. ¶
37.) Geneva is allegedly a collector of consumer credit
information and intermediary between Equifax and various
marketing agencies. (See Id. ¶¶ 17, 28.)
February 2016, plaintiff received a notice from a Hanlees
Nissan Chevrolet (“Hanlees”) stating that he had
been prequalified for a car loan of $5, 500 to $39, 000. (Car
Loan Notice.) The notice identified Geneva as the lender.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the notice was sent to
him because Geneva obtained a copy of his consumer report
from Equifax and forwarded the report to a marketing agency
that was working on Hanlees' behalf. (See Compl.
¶¶ 17, 21, 43.)
receiving the car loan notice, plaintiff contacted Hanlees to
apply for the loan the notice stated he had been prequalified
for. (Id. ¶ 23.) Hanlees advised him to contact
Geneva regarding the loan. (Id.) When plaintiff
contacted Geneva regarding the loan, Geneva allegedly
informed him that it “did not finance vehicles for
purchase and instructed him to contact the . . . car
dealership for financing approval.” (Id.
thereafter filed this putative class action. (Id. at
23.) Plaintiff alleges that his experience with Hanlees and
Geneva was the result of a nationwide scheme whereby Equifax
sells “tens of thousands of consumer reports” to
Geneva and Geneva sells such reports to and partners with
various marketing agencies for the purpose of
“conduct[ing] promotional inquiries [using] bogus firm
offers of credit.” (See Id. ¶¶ 17,
21, 30.) Such a scheme, plaintiff contends, violates the
FCRA. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff brings a cause of action
against defendants for furnishing and failing to maintain
reasonable procedures designed to avoid furnishing consumer
reports to other parties for “impermissible marketing
purposes” in violation 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681b and
1681e(a). (Id. at 16-18.) Plaintiff also brings
causes of action against Geneva for obtaining consumer
reports for “impermissible marketing purposes” in
violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681b(f) and 1681e(e),
and obtaining such reports under false pretenses in violation
of 15 U.S.C. § 1681q. (Id. at 18-21.)
have filed separate Answers to plaintiff's Complaint.
(See Equifax's Answer (Docket No. 32); Geneva's
Answer (Docket No. 34).) Equifax alleges seven
defenses in its Answer. (Equifax's Answer at
12-13.) Geneva alleges sixteen defenses in its Answer.
(Geneva's Answer at 11-14.) Plaintiff now moves to strike
each of the defenses alleged in defendants' Answers under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f). (Pl.'s Mot. as to
Equifax; Pl.'s Mot. as to Geneva.)
12(f) authorizes the court to strike
“insufficient” affirmative defenses and
“redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous
matter[s]” from pleadings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f).
defenses may be insufficient “as a matter of law”
or “as a matter of pleading.” Harris v.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., 303 F.R.D. 625, 627 (E.D.
Cal. 2014) (citing Dodson v. Strategic Rests. Acquisition
Co. II, LLC, 289 F.R.D. 595, 603 (E.D. Cal. 2013)
(Karlton, J.)). An affirmative defense is insufficient as a
matter of law “if it lacks merit under any set of facts
the defendant might allege.” Id. (citing
Dodson, 289 F.R.D. at 603). An affirmative defense is
insufficient as a matter of pleading if it fails to provide
“fair notice” of its nature and grounds to the
plaintiff. Kohler v. Flava Enters., Inc., 779 F.3d
1016, 1019 (9th Cir. 2015). “Fair notice” of an
affirmative defense only requires that the defendant describe
the defense in “general terms.” Id.
matters are those “that are needlessly
repetitive.” City of Colton v. Am. Promotional
Events, Inc., No. EDCV 09-1864 PSG SSX, 2012 WL 32606,
at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 5, 2012). “[I]mmaterial”
matters are those “which [have] no essential or
important relationship to the claim[s] for relief or the
defenses being pleaded.” Id.
“[I]mpertinent” matters are those “that do
not pertain, and are not necessary, to the issues in
question.” Id. “[S]candalous”
matters are those that “improperly cast a derogatory
light on someone, usually a party.” Wilkerson v.
Butler, 229 F.R.D. 166, 170 (E.D. Cal. 2005)
Defenses That Are Not ...