In Campbell v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., No. CV 20-2498(DSD/BRT), 2022 WL 3716982 (D. Minn. Aug. 29, 2022), the court granted summary judgment to a defendant, Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”), because the plaintiff failed to show actual, statutory, or punitive damages from the inaccurate credit report for a discharged debt in bankruptcy.
The plaintiff received a discharge under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. The plaintiff’s truck lease was discharged in the bankruptcy, but credit reports from the credit reporting agencies showed the lease with an outstanding balance. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the agencies alleging negligent and willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“FCRA”), by reporting his truck lease as still outstanding after his bankruptcy. Experian is the remaining defendant after the other credit reporting agencies entered into a settlement with the plaintiff.
The plaintiff’s complaint included allegations that he was denied credit on several occasions. For the motion for summary judgment, the court noted that the plaintiff failed to show that he was denied credit because of the inaccurate information in the Experian credit report. Rather, the court received deposition testimony that led to the conclusion that the plaintiff failed to show that he suffered actual damages.
The court noted a reasonable jury would not award emotional distress damages because the inaccurate credit report did not result in the plaintiff receiving treatment for a physical, psychological, or emotional injury. Because the plaintiff failed to show actual damages, the court granted summary judgment to Experian.
The plaintiff alleged that Experian willfully failed to employ reasonable procedures because it knew that his truck lease was discharged in bankruptcy but failed to update its report to remove the lease. In rejecting the argument, the court stated that at most the plaintiff’s allegations establish negligence in the inaccurate credit reporting, but there was a lack of evidence that Experian knowingly and intentionally disregarded the plaintiff’s rights, especially when Experian used procedures approved in White v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., No. 05-CV-1073, 2008 WL 11518799 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2008). Further, the Campbell court held that the plaintiff failed to present evidence that Experian acted with conscious disregard of this right to support statutory or punitive damages under § 1681n.
The Campbell court held that the plaintiff’s claim failed as a matter of law and Experian was entitled to summary judgment.
Co-Editors in Chief
Karl J. Johnson, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
David M. Tanabe, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.