United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE
Jeffrey T. Miller United States District Judge
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a), Defendant Residential Credit
Solutions, Inc. (“RCS”) moves to consolidate the
separately filed consumer class action complaints filed
individually by Plaintiff Rudolf Sanchez in 18cv0586 JM(JMA)
and Plaintiff Sylvia Sanchez in 18cv0587 JM(JMA). Plaintiffs
Rudolf Sanchez and Sylvia Sanchez oppose the motion.
Defendants Servis One, Inc., dba BSI Financial Services
(“BSI”); Nationstar Mortgage LLC
(“Nationstar”); Homeward Residential
(“Homeward”); Aurora Bank, FSB
(“Aurora”); Equifax Information Services LLC
(“Equifax”); and Trans Union LLC
(“TransUnion”) have not responded to the motion.
Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), the court finds the matters
presented appropriate for resolution without oral argument.
For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the motion
to consolidate, instructs the Clerk of Court to file a copy
of this order in both above identified cases, and instructs
the parties to file all future filings in the low number
action, 18cv0586 JM(JMA).
March 20, 2018, Plaintiffs commenced these actions by
alleging three claims for relief: (1) violation of the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C.
§1681, et seq.; (2) violation of the California
Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (“CCRAA”),
Cal. Civ. Code §1785.1, et seq.; and (3)
violation of the automatic bankruptcy stay provision, 11
U.S.C. §362(a). The FCRA claim is alleged against all
Defendants except RCS; the CCRAA claim is alleged against all
Defendants; and the violation of the automatic stay claim is
alleged against RCS and BSI. Defendant Nationstar is not a
named Defendant in 18cv0587. All other Defendants are the
same in both actions.
main, Plaintiffs' complaints set forth over one hundred
generalized allegations, including general policy arguments
and statements of law related to their statutory
claims. Defendants BSI, RCS, Nationstar, Homeward,
and Aurora (collectively, the
“Furnisher-Defendants”) are alleged furnishers of
information for purposes of the FCRA. (Compl. ¶27, all
references are to the Court Docket in 18cv0856). Defendants
Equifax and TransUnion (collectively, the “Credit
Bureaus”) are alleged consumer reporting agencies for
purposes of the FCRA. Plaintiffs' claims arise from the
August 28, 2012, Plaintiffs filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy
in the Southern District of California and, on March 13,
2013, the bankruptcy court approved their repayment plan.
(¶¶94, 105). On December 17, 2012, Plaintiffs filed
a Motion to Value Real Property, Treat Claim as Unsecured and
Avoid Junior Lien (“Motion to Value”) regarding a
junior lien held by RCS. (Compl. ¶120). On October 12,
2018, Plaintiffs' bankruptcy successfully discharged.
allege that Furnisher-Defendants “caused to be reported
inaccurate information after the Bankruptcy was filed on
Plaintiff's credit reports.” (Compl. ¶129).
Such conduct allegedly violated bankruptcy court orders,
constituted an illegal collection activity, and constituted a
materially misleading statement for purposes of the FCRA and
CCRAA. (Compl. ¶130). Furnisher-Defendants also are
alleged to have reported inaccurate derogatory information
based upon pre-bankruptcy contract terms no longer
enforceable after discharge. (Compl. ¶131). The Credit
Bureaus, BSI, Nationstar, Homeward, and Aurora are also
alleged to have reported, or caused to be reported,
inaccurate information in Plaintiffs' credit reports
(primarily by reporting on alleged debts extinguished in
bankruptcy, or otherwise rendered unenforceable). (Compl.
42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides:
“If actions before the court involve a common question
of law or fact, the court may: (1) join for hearing or trial
any or all matters at issue in the actions; (2) consolidate
the actions; or (3) issue any other orders to avoid
unnecessary cost or delay.” The primary purpose of the
rule is to promote trial court efficiency and avoid the
danger of inconsistent adjudications. See E.E.O.C. v. HBE
Corp., 135 F.3d 543, 551 (8th Cir. 1998).
While considerations of judicial economy and convenience play
an important role in deciding whether to consolidate two
actions for trial, the paramount concern is whether the
parties are afforded a fair and impartial trial.
threshold issue, the court notes that the term
“consolidation” for purposes of Rule 42(a) has
several different meanings. Wright Miller; Federal
Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d §2382. The
majority of courts hold that consolidation does not merge the
separate lawsuits into a single consolidated action.
Schwarzer, Tashima Wagstaffe, Federal Civil Procedure
Before Trial, §16.140 (2008). In this district two
different procedures apply to related actions. First, the low
number rule of L.R. 40.1 generally provides for the
coordinated treatment of actions that arise from
substantially identical transactions, involve the same
parties or property, or call for resolution of the same or
substantially identical issues of law and fact. L.R. 40.1(b).
Here, the Sylvia Sanchez action (18cv0857) has been
low numbered to the Rudolf Sanchez action
(18cv0856). As a consequence, coordinated discovery and case
management procedures have already been implemented for these
second procedure provides for consolidation of two actions,
as if they were the same case. Where two related actions
present the same factual and legal issues, consolidation
provides that the two cases proceed under a single case
number. Here, the legal claims are identical, the same
underlying transaction or occurrence underlies both
complaints, and the evidence to support or negate
Plaintiffs' claims applies equally to all claims.
Further, no management concerns are identified by the
parties, even though Nationwide is a Defendant only in
18cv0856 and each Plaintiff possesses an individual credit
report. Moreover, Plaintiffs do not identify any prejudice
should the cases be consolidated as one. Accordingly, the
court finds that consolidation of the two actions will bring
the court grants the motion to consolidate, and instructs the
parties and the Clerk of Court to file all future filings in
the low number action, 18cv856 JM(JMA).