In a case that was defended by Martin Golden Lyons Watts Morgan, a Magistrate Court judge in Alabama has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class-action, ruling that the defendant did exactly as it should when it sought to have a tradeline deleted because it could not verify the information from the original creditor within 30 days after the plaintiff filed a dispute.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Brittingham v. Consumer Adjustment Co., Inc. can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant acquired the assets of another collection operation, including a contractual relationship with a collection law firm and debt buyer. The defendant reported information about a debt that the plaintiff owed to the debt buyer to the credit reporting agencies. The plaintiff disputed the debt, at which point the defendant marked the account as disputed in its system, and checked that the information provided by the credit reporting agency matched what was in its system. Then, it sought supporting documentation from the current creditor. When that information was not provided, the defendant asked the credit reporting agencies to delete the tradeline — 27 days after the dispute was filed.
“Here, CACi has demonstrated that it followed its set procedures to the letter regarding Plaintiff’s dispute and did everything required by the FCRA in response to Plaintiff’s dispute,” wrote Judge P. Bradley Murray. “This included, as a debt collector, rather than an original creditor, an attempt to obtain documents from its client, OBW, in the course of the investigation. When that attempt failed, because of OBW’s lack of response, CACi requested deletion of the account from Plaintiff’s credit reporting – 27 days after receiving notice of the dispute. Plaintiff has failed to establish how this investigation was not reasonable and how CACi violated the FCRA.”
The suit also accused the defendant of violating Sections 1692c and 1692f of the FDCPA by furnishing information about the debt before communicating with the plaintiff, but that did not go into effect until November 30, 2021 with the enactment of Regulation F. “Plaintiff has further failed to put forth evidence showing CACi had any knowledge the debt reported was not accurate, and CACi has shown the account was placed for collection after the acquisition of Midwest, and no evidence regarding the account reflects the debt was previously disputed or invalid,” wrote Judge Murray.