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Finley v. Capital One

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 7, 2017

LaTonya R. Finley, Plaintiff,
v.
Capital One, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT CAPITAL ONE BANK (USA), N.A.'S MOTION TO DISMISS RE: DKT. NOS. 87, 89

          YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Plaintiff LaTonya R. Finley brings this action against defendant Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. (“Capitol One”).[1] Plaintiff filed her initial complaint on September 22, 2016. (Dkt. No. 1.) Capitol One moved for judgment on the pleadings on December 23, 2016, (Dkt. No. 65), and the Court granted defendant's motion on April 14, 2017. (Dkt. No. 85, “Order Granting MJOP”.) The Court dismissed with prejudice plaintiff's state law claims but granted plaintiff leave to amend her claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.[2] In granting plaintiff leave to amend, the Court specifically instructed plaintiff that to state a claim under the FCRA plaintiff must allege “what inaccurate information Capital One furnished” to a credit reporting agency (“CRA”), “facts indicating that the CRA notified [Capitol One] of the dispute over the inaccurate information”, and “why [Capitol One's] investigation of the [alleged inaccurate information] was unreasonable.” (Id. ¶¶ 3-5.)

         Plaintiff filed a three-page amended complaint on April 26, 2017, alleging one count under the FCRA. (Dkt. No. 86, First Amended Complaint (“FAC”).) Plaintiff alleges generally that Capital One, as a furnisher of information to CRAs, reported “derogatory information about plaintiff.” (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff also contends that Capital One “failed to conduct an investigation of plaintiff [sic] written dispute and provide the results of an investigation to plaintiff within the 30 days period as required by 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2.” (Id. ¶ 10.)

         Capital One now moves to dismiss the FAC. (Dkt. No. 87.) Plaintiff filed her opposition brief on May 30, 2017.[3] (Dkt. No. 88.) Capitol One filed its reply brief on June 2, 2017.[4] (Dkt. No. 90.) Having carefully considered the papers and for the reasons discussed below, the Court concludes that plaintiff has failed to state a claim under the FCRA. Accordingly, the Court Grants Capital One's motion to dismiss. Because plaintiff was previously provided with specific guidance on what was required to state a claim under the FCRA and could not so plead, the Court finds that further amendment would be futile and a waste of judicial and party resources. See Saul v. United States, 928 F.2d 829, 843 (9th Cir. 1991) (holding that a district court does not err in denying leave to amend where the amendment would be futile or where the amended complaint would be subject to dismissal). Therefore plaintiff's FAC is Dismissed With Prejudice.

         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff's claim arises from alleged violations of the FCRA. In her three-page amended complaint, plaintiff avers that Capitol One reported “derogatory information about plaintiff” and “furnished false or misleading representations . . .” to one or more CRAs. (FAC ¶ 5.) Finley further alleges that she “disputed the inaccuracy of the derogatory information.”[5] (Id. ¶ 6.) Finally, plaintiff avers that defendant “failed to complete an investigation” of plaintiff's written dispute. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         II. Legal Standard

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims alleged in the complaint. Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1199-1200 (9th Cir. 2003). “Dismissal can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). All allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Johnson v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 653 F.3d 1000, 1010 (9th Cir. 2011). To survive a motion to dismiss, “a 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)).

         III. Discussion

         Capital One asserts that plaintiff fails to state a claim under the FCRA. To state such a claim against a “furnisher”-i.e., Capital One-a plaintiff must plead, with enough facts, that (1) the furnisher provided inaccurate information to a CRA; (2) a CRA notified the furnisher of the dispute; and (3) the furnisher failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into the accuracy of the disputed information. Hernandez v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., No. 2:14-CV-1500 JCM VCF, 2015 WL 1204985, at *2 (D. Nev. Mar. 16, 2015) (citing Middleton v. Plus Four, Inc., No. 2:13-CV-01421-GMN-GW, 2014 WL 910351, at *3 (D. Nev. Mar. 7, 2014)); see also Gorman v. Wolpoff & Abramson, LLP, 584 F.3d 1147, 1154-61 (9th Cir. 2009). Finally, a plaintiff must allege facts that show that the defendant furnisher acted either willfully or negligently. See Gorman, 584 F.3d at 1154. The Court addresses each of the four requirements below.[6]

         1. Furnisher Must Provide Inaccurate Information to CRA

         First, to state a claim against a furnisher under section 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA, a plaintiff must allege that an “actual inaccuracy exists” on her credit report. Keller v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., No. 16-CV-04643-LHK, 2017 WL 130285, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2017) (citing Carvalho v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 629 F.3d 876, 890 (9th Cir. 2010)). “Thus, even if a furnisher . . . fails to conduct a reasonable investigation . . . . if a plaintiff cannot establish that a credit report contained an actual inaccuracy, then the plaintiff's claims fail.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Here, the FAC does not identify what inaccurate information Capital One furnished to the CRAs Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Plaintiff simply alleges that Capitol One reported “derogatory information” including “false or misleading representations of debt.” (FAC ¶¶ 5, 11.) This is not sufficient. As the Court stated in its Order Granting MJOP, plaintiff must allege the inaccurate information which Capital One provided to a CRA. Finley has not done so, and for that reason alone defendant's motion to dismiss is Granted. However, the Court proceeds to discuss the other deficiencies of the FAC with regard to the remaining elements of the FCRA.

         2. CRA Must Notify ...


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