Christopher Marino v. Ocwen Loan Servicing

Case Type:
Case Status:
9th Cir. Case No. 19-15530 (9th Circuit, Oct 20,2020) Published
Ninth Circuit affirmed District Court (D. Nev.) grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant. The COA held that a violation under the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681(a)(3)(A) may only be willful when the plaintiff shows the defendant knowingly or recklessly disregarded the FCRA. Here, by reviewing credit reports of individuals who had discharged mortgage debts in bankruptcy when determining if it could offer individuals alternatives to foreclosure the defendant did not act intentionally or recklessly sufficient to find a violation.
Procedural context:
Plaintiffs alleged defendant mortgage servicer willfully violated FCRA by obtaining credit reports without proper purpose on consumers whose mortgage loans had been discharged in bankruptcy. Defendant argued that it had a permissible purpose to obtain the credit reports. The defendant relied on the facts that the liens on the properties survived the bankruptcy and the plaintiffs retained title to the properties. Therefore, the defendant asserted it had the right to occasionally review the plaintiffs' credit reports for possible foreclosure workout or other arrangements. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant. Plaintiff appealed to 9th Circuit.
Multiple plaintiffs filed bankruptcy and received discharges. Each plaintiff owned a home subject to a mortgage serviced by the defendant, Ocwen. Even though the discharges removed the personal liability on the debts for the plaintiffs, the liens against the homes survived the bankruptcy. The plaintiffs also retained ownership of the properties post-discharge. The defendant obtained the plaintiffs' credit reports.
Richard A. Paez, Carlos T. Bea, Lynn S. Adelman (District Judge sitting by appointment)

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