United States District Court, W.D. Washington Seattle.
JESSE RODRIGUEZ, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC. and ALLIANCEONE RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendants.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR CLASS
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Class Certification and to be Appointed Class
Counsel. Dkt. # 42. Defendants oppose the Motion.
Dkt. # 43. Having considered the parties' briefs and
balance of the record, the Court finds oral argument
unnecessary. For the reasons stated below, the Court
GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion.
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. On May 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.
argues that AllianceOne violated the FCRA every time it
requested and obtained a consumer credit report from Experian
as part of the collection process on judgments stemming from
unpaid parking tickets. Accordingly, Plaintiff filed this
class action lawsuit.
October 20, 2016, the Court issued an Order dismissing this
action with prejudice as to Defendant Experian. Dkt. # 28. On
October 3, 2017, the Court granted in part and denied in part
AllianceOne's motion for summary judgment. Dkt. # 48.
Court's decision to certify a class is discretionary.
Vinole v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 571 F.3d
935, 944 (9th Cir. 2009). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23
(“Rule 23”) guides the Court's exercise of
discretion. A plaintiff “bears the burden of
demonstrating that he has met each of the four requirements
of Rule 23(a) and at least one of the [three alternative]
requirements of Rule 23(b).” Lozano v. AT&T
Wireless Servs., Inc., 504 F.3d 718, 724 (9th Cir.
2007). Rule 23(a) requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that
the proposed class is sufficiently numerous, that it presents
common issues of fact or law, that it will be led by one or
more class representatives with claims typical of the class,
and that the class representative will adequately represent
the class. Gen. Tel. Co. of the S.W. v. Falcon, 457
U.S. 147, 161 (1982); Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a).
plaintiff satisfies the Rule 23(a) requirements, he must also
show that the proposed class action meets one of the three
requirements of Rule 23(b). Zinser v. Accufix Research
Inst., Inc., 253 F.3d 1180, 1186 (9th Cir. 2001). Here,
Plaintiffs move for class certification under Rule 23(b)(2)
and (b)(3). Rule 23(b)(2) requires that “the party
opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds
that apply generally to the class, so that final injunctive
relief or corresponding declaratory relief is appropriate
respecting the class as a whole.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
23(b)(2). Rule 23(b)(2) is met where “a single
injunction or declaratory judgment would provide relief to
each member of the class.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 360 (2011).
also seeks certification under Rule 23(b)(3). A class may be
certified under this subdivision if: (1) common questions of
law and fact predominate over questions affecting individual
members, and (2) if a class action is superior to other means
to adjudicate the controversy. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3). The
“predominance” and “superiority”
prongs of Rule 23 work together to ensure that certifying a
class “would achieve economies of time, effort, and
expense, and promote . . . uniformity of decision as to
persons similarly situated, without sacrificing procedural
fairness or bringing about other undesirable results.”
Amchem Prods., Inc. v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 615
(1997) (internal citation and quotation omitted). A
“central concern of the Rule 23(b)(3) predominance test
is whether ‘adjudication of common issues will help
achieve judicial economy.'” Vinole, at 944
(quoting Zinser, 253 F.3d at 1189). Thus, the Court
must determine whether resolution of common questions would
resolve a “significant aspect” of the class
members' claims such that there is “clear
justification” for class treatment. Hanlon v.
Chrysler Corp., 150 F.3d 1011, 1022 (9th Cir. 1998)
considering Rule 23's requirements, the Court must engage
in a “rigorous analysis, ” but a “rigorous
analysis does not always result in a lengthy explanation or
in depth review of the record.” Chamberlan v. Ford
Motor Co., 402 F.3d 952, 961 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing
Falcon, 457 U.S. at 161). The Court is neither
permitted nor required to conduct a “preliminary
inquiry into the merits” of the plaintiff's claims.
Blackie v. Barrack, 524 F.2d 891, 901 (9th Cir.
1975) (citing Eisen v. Carlisle & Jacquelin, 417
U.S. 156, 177 (1974)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 23
advisory committee's note (2003) (“[A]n evaluation
of the probable outcome on the merits is not properly part of
the certification decision.”); but see Dukes,
564 U.S. at 351 (suggesting that Rule 23 analysis may be
inextricable from some judgments on the merits in a
particular case). The Court may assume the truth of a
plaintiff's substantive allegations, but may require more
than bare allegations to determine whether a plaintiff has
satisfied the requirements of Rule 23. See,
e.g., Blackie, 524 F.2d at 901, n.17;
Clark v. Watchie, 513 F.2d 994, 1000 (9th Cir. 1975)
(“If the trial judge has made findings as to the
provisions of the Rule and their application to the case, his
determination of class status should be considered within his