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Goble v. Telcom Community Credit Union

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

March 7, 2017



          Graham C. Mullen United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Fairville Company's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 46) and Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 50). Replies were due by January 10, 2017 and none were filed.

         I. Background

         In May, 2006, Plaintiff, and her husband, Anthony Goble, who is not a party, obtained a 39 month installment loan from Fairville to purchase a used 2002 Freightliner TI20664 ST Tractor. The first payment was due July 1, 2006, with monthly payments due on the first day of each month thereafter. As early as September, 2006, her loan was delinquent with a first payment default, and the truck was uninsured. The truck was secured on September 27, 2006 and sold shortly thereafter, leaving a balance due of $46, 983. (Maxton Decl. Ex. A at 148). Fairville furnished this information to Equifax in 2006.

         Plaintiff and her husband filed a joint bankruptcy petition on December 10, 2007, in the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, No. 07-51158. (Def. Ex. 2). Plaintiff's Petition scheduled the Fairville deficiency balance as an undisputed unsecured debt, along with approximately 54 other outstanding unsecured debts, totaling $133, 893.02. By letter dated April 14, 2013, Plaintiff notified Equifax that her debt to Fairville had been discharged in bankruptcy and requested that Equifax properly note a zero ($0) balance. (Def. Ex. 3).

         Equifax's records indicate that on July 22, 2013, it received a letter dated July 15, 2013, from Gourley and Gourley, P.A., advising Equifax of errors in Plaintiff's credit report. (Munson Decl. Ex. B). That letter states: “Pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act…we specifically request that the [Fairville] account trade lines be modified permanently to reflect (1) Account Balance of $0 (2) Discharged in Bankruptcy.” An internal Equifax “maintenance sheet” dated July 23, 2013 shows that the Fairville account was updated to show that it was “included in bankruptcy.” (Munson Decl. Ex. B).

         On November 7, 2013, Plaintiff sent a certified letter to Equifax and asked that Equifax “update the subject credit file(s) to reflect the discharged status of the debts.” The letter disputes “the extent any of the discharged debts are reporting anything other than a ‘0' balance.” (Def. Ex. 10).

         On April 5, 2014, Plaintiff submitted an online dispute to Equifax regarding the Fairville account to “verify the account descriptions shown on [her Fairville] account.” (Def. Ex. 15).

         On June 8, 2014 Plaintiff mailed a letter to Equifax disputing the Fairville account reporting balance of $46, 983 and amount past due of $45, 539, and advising they both needed to be corrected to show a Zero ($0) balance. This letter was received by Equifax June 14, 2014. (Munson Decl. Ex. D). On, June 23, 2014, Equifax sent an automatic credit dispute verification form (“ACDV”) to CSC Logic[1] (“CSC”) using the e-OSCAR system, notifying CSC of Plaintiff's dispute regarding the Fairville account information. (Evans Decl. ¶ 5). A copy of the ACDV produced by Equifax lists the date as June 23, 2014. (Munson Decl. Ex. C). CSC served a response to this ACDV on or about June 24, 2014. (Id. ¶ 6, Ex. B). Fairville has produced a draft of this response that was provided by CSC, indicating that it had updated Plaintiff's account to reflect a balance of $0 and an amount past due of $0 (Maxton Decl. Ex. C). The copy of the ACDV produced by Equifax includes CSC's response, reflecting that the balance had been updated to $0 and that the account had been listed as closed (Munson Decl. Ex. C).

         Plaintiff filed a complaint against Fairville Company, LP (“Fairville”), Equifax Information Services, LLC (“Equifax”), and Telco Community Credit Union (“Telco”), in this Court on August 7, 2015. (Doc. No. 1) In it, she alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and North Carolina's Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“UDTPA”). (Id. at 7-17, ¶¶ 92-111). During the discovery period, Plaintiff signed confidential settlement agreements with Equifax and Telco and agreed to dismiss her claims against them with prejudice. (Response in Opposition at 2-3, Doc. No. 37; Joint Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice, Doc. No. 30; Stipulation of Dismissal with Prejudice, Doc. No. 38).

         So, at this point what remains is Plaintiff's claims against Fairville for (1) violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and (2) violations of UDTPA. Fairville has filed a motion for summary judgment for both of these claims.

         II. Standard of Review

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence” in support of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to establish a genuine dispute. Id. at 252. A material fact affects the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law. See Id. at 248. When determining whether a dispute is genuine or a fact is material, courts are required to view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the summary judgment motion. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). The Court “may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). Unsupported speculation, however, is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv. Co., 80 F.3d 954, 960 (4th Cir. 1996).

         III. ...

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