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Pittman v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

November 30, 2016

HOWARD PITTMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., ET AL, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANT iSERVE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge

         I. NATURE OF THE ACTION

         Howard Pittman (“Pittman”) brings multiple claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). This case hinges on the validity of a trial mortgage modification plan, which was offered, but not signed as required under Michigan law. For that reason, Pittman's mortgage was not permanently modified and he cannot enforce the terms of the Trial Modification Plan.

         Pittman sues Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Trans Union, LLC, Equifax Information Services, LLC, Servis One, Inc. (“BSI”), and iServe Servicing, Inc (“iServe”). He has two separate claims against all Defendants for: (1) Negligent Violation of FCRA, and; (2) Willful Violation of FCRA. Pittman also filed a breach of contract claim against BSI.

         Pittman and iServe filed cross motions for Summary Judgment. Pittman seeks Summary Judgment on Counts I - Negligent Violation of FCRA by BSI, II - Willful Violation of FCRA by BSI, III - Negligent Violation of FCRA by iServe, IV - Willful Violation of FCRA by iServe, and XI - Breach of Contract by BSI.

         The Motion is DENIED.

         iServe filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Counts III - Negligent Violation of FCRA and IV - Willful Violation of FCRA .

         That Motion is GRANTED; Iserve is DISMISSED.

         A. Facts

         iServe granted Pittman a Trial Modification Plan (“TMP”) on his mortgage in December 2011 after he failed to make two mortgage payments in August and September 2011. The TMP required Pittman to make three reduced mortgage payments of $1, 357.80 in a “timely manner” and stated, “After all trial period payments are timely made and you have submitted all the required documents, your mortgage will be permanently modified.” The TMP also stated, “Your credit score may be adversely affected by accepting a trial period plan.” Pittman timely made the three trial payments and continued to make payments for $1, 357.80 each month to iServe. However, the TMP was never signed by Pittman or iServe, nor was it ever made permanent in writing by iServe.

         Prior to the TMP, Pittman's mortgage was held by Citicorp Trust Bank when he obtained the loan in 2008. Under the original mortgage agreement, Pittman was required to make monthly payments of $1980.42 and Citicorp agreed to deposit a portion of the payments into an escrow account designated for property taxes. The loan was transferred twice; first to iServe in July 2010 and then to BSI in June 2012.

         Pittman continued to make reduced payments on his mortgage after the transfer from iServe to BSI. On April 25, 2013, iServe's senior counsel advised Pittman through email that the loan modification was permanent as far as he was aware (“According to iServe's understanding from HAMP and BSI, Mr. Pittman's loan modification has been made permanent…”). When Pittman obtained his credit reports in June 2014, he learned BSI and iServe had reported his mortgage payments as past due. This negatively impacted his credit history. Pittman sent letters to credit reporting agencies (“CRAs), Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Equifax Information Services, and Trans Union on June 11, 2014 and August 20, 2014, disputing the information furnished by BSI and iServe. In October 2014, Pittman also learned BSI had not made property tax payments from his escrow account.

         This suit followed. Pittman argues he is entitled to summary judgment because iServe and BSI were bound under the TMP to conduct a reasonable investigation and rectify erroneous credit information.

         iServe says it is entitled to summary judgment on the claims against it, because Pittman failed to produce a signed permanent loan modification and thus the information it reported was correct.

         II. ...


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