California federal district grants motion for summary judgment filed by Simmonds & Narita debt buyer client on claims under the FDCPA, the Rosenthal Act, and CCRAA in identity theft case
Plaintiff, who maintained he was a victim of identity theft, alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA, the Rosenthal Act, and the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act by attempting to collect an unpaid credit card from him and by reporting inaccurate account information to the credit reporting agencies. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The court rejected Plaintiff’s argument that Defendant was not permitted to rely on the account information provided by the original creditor and was required to conduct an independent investigation before communicating with him or the CRAs. The court also rejected Plaintiff’s argument that once he verbally claimed to be the victim of identity theft, Defendant was required to accept his representations, to assume the account information was inaccurate, and to cease collection efforts, noting that Plaintiff never disputed the debt in writing, and never completed and returned the Identity Theft Affidavit that Defendant sent to Plaintiff (on three occasions). Consequently, said the court, Defendant was entitled to assume the debt was valid and its communications could not be deemed false, misleading or deceptive simply because Plaintiff verbally claimed to be the victim of identity theft. As to the CCRAA claim, the Court concluded summary judgment was proper because there was no evidence Defendant reported to the CRAs information about a specific transaction or experience, and because Plaintiff’s unsubstantiated verbal representation that he was a victim of ID theft was not sufficient to prove that Defendant knew or should have known the information it reported was inaccurate.