United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
GEORGE A. GOULD, Plaintiff,
WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, et al, Defendants.
A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the plaintiffs motion to
remand this case to state court. (Dk. No. 13.) The plaintiff,
George Gould, sued the defendants, Wells Fargo Bank, National
Association ("Wells Fargo") and the Professional
Foreclosure Corporation of Virginia ("PFC"), in
Richmond City Circuit Court. Gould alleges two counts: (1)
breach of the deed of trust against Wells Fargo and (2)
breach of fiduciary duty against PFC. Wells Fargo, with
PFC's consent, removed the case to this Court based on
federal question jurisdiction, and Gould moved to remand.
Because the Court lacks jurisdiction, the Court GRANTS
Gould's motion and REMANDS the case to the Richmond City
purchased a home in 2003 and financed the transaction through
a loan and deed of trust with Wells Fargo. Paragraph 19 of
the deed of trust allowed Wells Fargo to accelerate the loan
and initiate foreclosure proceedings under certain
conditions. This provision also stipulated that Gould could
stop foreclosure and reinstate his loan if he paid
"reinstatement sums and expenses" five days prior
to the foreclosure sale. (Dk. No. 1, Ex. 1 at ¶ 12.)
2015, Gould received notice from Wells Fargo's counsel,
Shapiro & Brown, LLP ("Shapiro & Brown"),
that his home would be sold at a foreclosure sale on July 28,
2015. Gould requested a reinstatement quote from both Wells
Fargo and Shapiro & Brown, but neither provided one. On
July 28, 2015, PFC, the substitute trustee, conducted the
foreclosure sale. Gould alleges that he could have stopped
the sale if Wells Fargo or Shapiro & Brown had provided
him with the reinstatement quote.
Fargo later reported the foreclosure to credit bureaus. In
addition to other economic damages, Gould alleges he
sustained damage to his credit score as a result of Wells
Fargo's negative reports.
defendant in a state civil case may remove the case to
federal court if the federal court would have original
jurisdiction over the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Wells
Fargo argues that this Court has jurisdiction over this case
because the plaintiffs first claim, breach of the deed of
trust, falls under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
("FCRA") and, therefore, involves a federal
question. Wells Fargo alternatively argues in its opposition
to Gould's motion to remand that Gould fraudulently
joined defendant PFC.
Gould Does Not Make an FCRA Claim
plaintiffs allegations of negative credit reports and
subsequent economic injury in a complaint do not by
themselves constitute an FCRA claim. For instance, a
plaintiff does not state an FCRA claim when she alleges that
the bank unfairly issued a negative credit report, which, in
turn, lowered her credit rating and resulted in other
economic injuries. Turner v. JPMorgan Chase, N.A.,
No. TDC-14-0576, 2014 WL 4843689, at *6 (D. Md. Sept. 25,
2014). Likewise, a plaintiffs request for his lender to
correct his credit reports does not amount to an FCRA claim
since the FCRA provides no "private right of action for
a credit furnisher's alleged failure to report accurate
information." Harrell v. Caliber Home Loans,
Inc., 995 F.Supp.2d 548, 554 n.4 (E.D. Va. 2014).
Instead, a furnisher faces liability only if it "failed
to conduct a reasonable investigation of a consumer's
dispute after being notified of a dispute directly by a
credit reporting agency." Id.
as evidence of an attempt to state an FCRA claim, Wells Fargo
cites paragraphs 30-32 of Gould's complaint, which allege
that Wells Fargo made negative credit reports and that these
reports resulted in economic damage to Gould. Gould's
claims plainly relate to a wrongful foreclosure; he merely
lists negative credit reporting among his damages. See
Turner, 2014 WL 4843689, at *6.
Wells Fargo argues that the FCRA preempts Gould's state
law claims. The FCRA includes two preemption provisions: 15
U.S.C. § 1681t(b)(1)(F) and 15 U.S.C. § 1681h(e).
Neither preempts Gould's claims. First, §
1681t(b)(1)(F) only preempts state statutory law,
Gould brings common law claims. Second, § 1681h(e)
preempts common law claims relating to defamation, invasion
of privacy, and negligence; Gould's common law claims do
not fall into any of those categories. 15 U.S.C. §
Gould does not attempt to assert an FCRA claim, and the FCRA
does not preempt his claims. Because Gould does not raise a
federal question, this Court lacks jurisdiction.
PFC Is Not ...