Law School Case Brief
Pagazani v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC - 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68563 (S.D. Fla. May 24, 2016)
To determine whether a consumer has identified a factual inaccuracy on his or her credit report that would activate 15 U.S.C.S. § 1681i's reinvestigation requirement, the decisive inquiry is whether the defendant could have uncovered the inaccuracy if it had reasonably reinvestigated the matter.
Yoryeris Pagazani, who was plaintiff Eduardo Pagazani’s spouse, opened credit card account with defendant Bank of America, N.A. ("BOA"); she listed Mr. Pagazani’s as an authorized signer on the account. The account was charged off as a loss to BOA on Jan. 31, 2012, in the amount of $8,211.72 following Mrs. Pagazani’s failure to make required minimum monthly payments. Mr. Pagazani subsequently reviewed his credit report online and discovered that BOA was reporting Mrs. Pagazani’s credit card account on his credit report. On Aug. 11, 2014, Mr. Pagazani disputed in writing the information that BOA reported to defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC (“Equifax”) regarding the account, which he deemed to be “wrongful reporting.” Ultimately, Mr. Pagazani filed a lawsuit against BOA and Equifax in federal district court seeking, inter alia, damages resulting from the denial credit and unfavorable terms of an automobile lease. In a prior decision, the district court granted BOA’s motion for summary judgment, and it was dismissed from the case. Before the court was Equifax’s motion for summary judgment.
Was Equifax entitled to summary judgment?
The court granted Equifax's motion for summary judgment. The court noted that Mr. Pagazani’s claims stemmed from the issue of whether an account for which an individual was only an authorized user was properly associated with that individual's credit history—or, conversely, whether including that information created a misleading impression in a material sense. The court ruled that such an issue was not a factual inaccuracy that could have been uncovered by a reasonable reinvestigation, but rather a legal issue that a credit agency, such as Equifax, was neither qualified nor obligated to resolve under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Mr. Pagazani’s legal dispute was with BOA, and Equifax could not have resolved Pagazani's legal dispute with BOA through a reasonable reinvestigation.
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