United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division
TIMOTHY E. PERRY, Plaintiff,
TOYOTA MOTOR CREDIT CORPORATION DBA TOYOTA FINANCIAL SERVICES, ET AL., Defendants.
Matthew Felty and Brandon Snodgrass, Snodgrass & Felty,
P.C., Abingdon, Virginia, and Leonard A. Bennett and Susan M.
Rotkis, Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C., Newport News,
Virginia, for Plaintiff;
J. Munitz and Anna S. McLean, Sheppard Mullin Richter &
Hampton LLP, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California,
for Defendant Toyota Motor Credit Corporation; David N.
Anthony, Troutman Sanders LLP, Richmond, Virginia, for
Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones, United States District Judge
action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(“FCRA”), plaintiff Timothy Perry alleges that
defendants Toyota Motor Credit Corporation
(“Toyota”), Experian Information Solutions, Inc.
(“Experian”), Equifax Information Services, LLC
(“Equifax”), and Trans Union, LLC (“Trans
Union”) violated the FCRA by furnishing and reporting
his Toyota vehicle lease account as due and owing, with a
past-due balance, and without reference to its inclusion in
his bankruptcy. He also alleges that Toyota, Equifax, and
Trans Union violated the FCRA by furnishing and reporting his
Toyota account as reaffirmed. Defendants Toyota and Experian
have moved to dismiss the Complaint, asserting that they did
not violate the FCRA because they furnished and reported
Perry's Toyota account accurately. For the reasons that
follow, I will grant Experian's motion, and I will grant
in part and deny in part Toyota's motion. I find that at
this point, Perry has stated a plausible claim when he
alleges that Toyota falsely reported that he had
“reaffirmed” his vehicle lease, rather than that
he had “assumed” it.
Complaint alleges the following facts, which I must accept as
true for the purpose of deciding the Motion to Dismiss.
began leasing a vehicle from Toyota on February 20, 2016. On
March 25, 2016, Perry filed a petition for Chapter 7
bankruptcy, and the Toyota lease was included in the
petition. Toyota was notified of this, and on March 29, 2016,
Toyota sent Perry's bankruptcy counsel a letter regarding
the vehicle lease. In the letter, Toyota stated that it would
no longer send billing statements to Perry and would not
report his account payment history to the three major credit
reporting agencies (“CRAs”) “unless a Lease
Assumption Agreement has been completed and sent to [Toyota]
in accordance with Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code.”
Compl. ¶ 17, ECF No. 1. On April 20, 2016, Perry
voluntarily assumed the vehicle lease.
21, 2016, the bankruptcy court granted a discharge of
Perry's debts. The order of discharge stated, “This
order does not prevent debtors from paying any debt
voluntarily or from paying reaffirmed debts according to the
reaffirmation agreement. 11 U.S.C. § 524(c) (f).”
Compl. ¶ 23, ECF No. 1.
continued to receive billing statements from Toyota after the
bankruptcy court's order of discharge, and he paid these
bills through January 2017. In January 2017, Perry contacted
Toyota to make arrangements to surrender the vehicle because
he was no longer able to make payments on the lease. Between
January and June 2017, Perry and Toyota corresponded
regarding arrangements for Toyota to repossess the vehicle,
and Toyota did so on or about June 9, 2017. Toyota continued
to send billing statements during this time, and its
employees told Perry that he had signed an assumption of the
lease and was still responsible for paying the
debt. Perry did not make any payments after
around June 16, 2017, Perry obtained a copy of his credit
report from Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union and learned
that each CRA was reporting his account with Toyota as due
and owing, with a past-due balance, and without reference to
the account's inclusion in the bankruptcy. In July 2017,
Perry sent a letter to each CRA disputing their reporting of
the Toyota account, and he copied Toyota on this and
subsequent correspondence with the CRAs.
responded to Perry's letter and stated that the account
would be updated to show that it was included in the
bankruptcy discharge. However, Perry obtained his Equifax
credit report on October 17, 2017, and it showed the Toyota
account as due and owing, with a past-due balance. It also
indicated that the debt had been reaffirmed. Perry sent a
second dispute letter to Equifax in November 2017, but when
he obtained another credit report from Equifax in January
2018, it was identical to the previous report. Perry sent a
third dispute letter to Equifax in February 2018, and Equifax
responded stating that it had verified the account.
Equifax's dispute response still showed a past-due
balance and that the debt had been reaffirmed. Equifax is
still reporting this allegedly inaccurate information.
did not receive a response to his first dispute letter from
Experian, and when he obtained his Experian credit report
again in August 2017, it showed that his Toyota account had a
past-due balance and that the vehicle had been involuntarily
repossessed. Perry then sent a second dispute letter to
Experian, to which Experian responded stating that it had
reinvestigated the dispute and updated the report. In the
report included with this response, the reference to
involuntary repossession had been removed, but it still
showed a past-due balance and made no reference to the
account being included in bankruptcy. Between October and
November 2017, Perry sent two additional dispute letters to
Experian, and he received similar responses from it. Experian
is still reporting this allegedly inaccurate information.
Union responded to Perry's first dispute letter and
stated that its investigation of the dispute was complete and
the information had been updated. His Trans Union credit
report showed no balance on the Toyota account and that the
account was included in the bankruptcy discharge. It also
removed the reference to a reaffirmation of the debt. Perry
obtained another copy of his Trans Union credit report in
January 2018, and this report again showed that the Toyota
account was past due, the debt had been reaffirmed, and no
reference to the account being included in bankruptcy. Perry
sent Trans Union another dispute letter, and Trans Union
responded stating that its investigation indicated that the
account was verified as accurate. The enclosed report showed
the same information as the prior report. Trans Union is
still reporting this allegedly inaccurate information.
Toyota's response to Perry's first dispute letter, it
stated that it had researched its records and determined that
the information it was furnishing to the CRAs was correct. A
second letter from Toyota stated that it would update the
account to show that Perry had disputed it. Toyota sent
similar letters to Perry in response to the additional
dispute letters it had been copied on. Toyota is still
furnishing this allegedly inaccurate information.
alleges that Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union had forwarded
his dispute to Toyota, but when Toyota received information
about the dispute, it only reviewed its internal system and
ultimately furnished the same information back to the CRAs.
Perry alleges that Toyota did not review its previous
communications with him when investigating the dispute.
December 2017, Perry received a letter from Alltran Financial
LP (“Alltran”), a debt collector, requesting that
he pay the debt on the Toyota account in full. Perry
responded to this letter and disputed the debt, stating that
it was included in the ...