United States District Court, W.D. Washington
JESSE RODRIGUEZ, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC. and ALLIANCEONE RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT ALLIANCEONE'S MOTION FOR
HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant AllianceOne
Receivables Management, Inc.'s
(“AllianceOne”) Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt.
# 35. Plaintiff Jesse Rodriguez opposes the motion. Dkt. #
38. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS in
part and DENIES in part
Defendant's Motion. Dkt. # 35.
Jesse Rodriguez, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated, filed suit against Defendants Experian Information
Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”) and AllianceOne,
claiming that Defendants violated the Fair Credit Report Act
(“FCRA”). Dkt. # 1. AllianceOne is a debt
collecting agency that contracted with the City of Seattle to
collect on unpaid parking ticket judgments. Dkt. # 37. When
collecting a judgment, AllianceOne would typically attempt to
work with the judgment debtor to pay off the unpaid debt. If
the debtor did not cooperate or was unresponsive, AllianceOne
would request the debtor's credit report to obtain
updated contact information or attachable assets. Dkt. # 39
City of Seattle referred several of Plaintiff's parking
tickets to AllianceOne for collection. Dkt. # 37. These
unpaid parking tickets were eventually reduced to
judgment. Dkt. # 9. On December 14, 2013 and April
3, 2014, AllianceOne requested and received Plaintiff's
credit report from Experian in order to obtain more
information to aid them in collecting payment of
Plaintiff's parking ticket judgments. Dkt. # 37.
AllianceOne then attempted to garnish one of Plaintiff's
bank accounts. The garnishment was unsuccessful because
Plaintiff had no money in that account. Dkt. # 36.
1, 2015, Plaintiff applied for and was denied a credit card
from Bank of America. Id. At that time, Plaintiff
learned that he had collection accounts reporting on his
credit report. Id. Plaintiff then paid off these
debts. Dkt. # 37. On August 4, 2015, Plaintiff filed this
suit, alleging, among other things, that AllianceOne violated
the FCRA when it requested Plaintiff's credit report for
an alleged impermissible purpose. Dkt. # 1.
judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the moving
party will have the burden of proof at trial, it must
affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact
could find other than for the moving party. Soremekun v.
Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir.
2007). On an issue where the nonmoving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial, the moving party can prevail merely
by pointing out to the district court that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's
case. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. If the moving
party meets the initial burden, the opposing party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of
fact for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The court
must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150-51 (2000).
the court need not, and will not, “scour the record in
search of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Keenan
v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996); see
also, White v. McDonnel-Douglas Corp., 904 F.2d 456, 458
(8th Cir. 1990) (the court need not “speculate on which
portion of the record the nonmoving party relies, nor is it
obliged to wade through and search the entire record for some
specific facts that might support the nonmoving party's
claim”). The opposing party must present significant
and probative evidence to support its claim or defense.
Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co.,
952 F.2d 1551, 1558 (9th Cir. 1991). Uncorroborated
allegations and “self-serving testimony” will not
create a genuine issue of material fact. Villiarimo v.
Aloha Island Air, Inc., 281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir.
2002); T.W. Elec. Serv. V. Pac Elec. Contractors
Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).
noted in the Court's previous Order denying
AllianceOne's Motion to Dismiss, under the FCRA, third
parties may request a consumer's credit report from a
credit reporting agency for “certain statutorily
enumerated purposes.” Pintos v. Pac. Creditors
Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 674 (9th Cir.
2009)(“Pintos II”). Consumer credit
reports may be used for debt collection purposes, as long as
debt collection agencies demonstrate that the outstanding
debt, in addition to “involving” consumers, stems
from a “credit” transaction. Dkt. # 21. In order
for the credit transaction to “involve” a
consumer, that consumer must “initiate” the
transaction. Pintos II, 605 F.3d at 675.
of making an argument about the application of the law to the
facts of this case, AllianceOne now advocates for an
alternative reading of the statute, which it believes
provides an alternative basis for finding that AllianceOne
had a “permissible purpose” to request
Plaintiff's credit report. AllianceOne argues that when
15 U.S.C. §§ 1681b(a)(3)(A), 1681b(c) and 1681a(m)
are read together, the ensuing interpretation allows credit
reports to be used in credit transactions that are not
initiated by the consumer. 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A)
allows a consumer report to be obtained for “review of
collection of an account.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(c)
sets forth conditions in which a consumer credit report may
be provided in connection with a “credit or insurance
transaction that is not initiated by the consumer.” 15
U.S.C. § 1681a(m) defines what is not included under the
umbrella of the term “credit or insurance transaction
that is not initiated by the consumer.” One of the
actions not included within that term is the use of a credit
report by a “person with which the consumer has an
account or insurance policy for purposes of . . . collecting
the account.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(m). AllianceOne
argues that because section 1681a(m) specifically excludes
“collecting an account” from the definition of
the term “credit or insurance transaction that is not
initiated by the consumer”, the inverse of that
proposition must be true. Thus, by AllianceOne's
reasoning, the collection of an account is a credit
transaction that is initiated by the consumer.
the Ninth Circuit specifically states that it did not
“opine on the meaning or scope of 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1681a(m) and 1681b(c), ” its statements
regarding the purpose of those provisions are illuminating.
Per the decision in Pintos III, sections 1681a(m)
and 1681b(c) were added to the FCRA “to permit lenders
and insurance companies to solicit for business by purchasing
lists and limited information about customers who match
certain criteria (such as zip code and credit score) from
credit reporting agencies, ” or to allow these
companies to send “pre-approved” offers of credit
to certain customers. Thus, these sections were ...