United States District Court, D. Maryland
NEIL F. LETREN, On behalf of himself and all others Similarly situated, Plaintiff,
TRANS UNION, LLC, Defendant.
Xinis United States District Judge.
September 15, 2017, the Court issued its Memorandum Opinion
and Order granting Defendant TRANS UNION, LLC's motion
for sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure and the inherent powers of the Court. ECF No.
116. The Court ordered that Plaintiff Neil F. Letren pay $200
and that his attorney Kevin L. Chapple pay $4, 000 to
Defendant as sanction. Id.
October 13, 2017, Letren moved to alter or amend the
Court's sanctions order, ECF No. 118. Also pending is
Trans Union's motion for leave to file a motion to strike
Letren's motion, on the grounds that it violated the
Court's Case Management Order. See ECF No. 119.
For the reasons stated below, Letren's motion to alter or
amend the judgment, ECF No. 118, is DENIED, and
Defendant's motion for leave to file motion to strike,
ECF No. 119, is DENIED as moot.
civil action stems from a mortgage loan reported by J.P.
Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“Chase”) to Plaintiff
Neil F. Letren's (“Letren”) Trans Union
credit report. This case has a long and tortured history that
has already been discussed at length in the Court's two
previous Opinions, ECF Nos. 81 & 116, and so will be
described briefly below.
to the Amended Complaint, Letren “obtained several
mortgage loans in 2007, including mortgage loans being
reported to his credit reports by [JPMorgan] Chase [Bank,
N.A.]. . . .” (the “Chase Account”). ECF
No. 22 at 5; see also Id. (alleging the Trans Union
credit report erroneously noted “the discharged Chase
mortgage account as due and owing”); id. at 6
(“Both the PNC and Chase accounts were opened in 2007
and would have been included in the March 2010
Bankruptcy.”). In September of 2008, Letren's
property was foreclosed upon. ECF No. 78-16 at 2; see
also ECF No. 78-1 at 40 (listing four foreclosure
proceedings). Letren's Trans Union consumer disclosure
was then updated on September 29, 2008, to reflect the Chase
Account as “foreclosure collateral sold.” ECF No.
78-4 at 2.
December 1, 2009, Letren filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. ECF
No. 68 at 1; see also In re: Letren, No. 09-33378,
(Bankr. D. Md. Dec. 1, 2009) (“Plaintiff's
Bankruptcy Petition”). Letren's bankruptcy petition
included a Schedule F of accounts to be discharged in the
bankruptcy and listed five accounts, including three mortgage
deficiencies from American Home Mortgage Acceptance
(“AMHA”), Aurora Loan Services, and National City
Mortgage. ECF No. 78-1 at 30; ECF No. 78-10 at 2. The Chase
Account was not listed on the Schedule F. ECF No. 78-10 at 2.
Letren now contends that the Chase Account is the same as the
American Home Mortgage Acceptance Account. See ECF
Nos. 109 & 114.
September of 2013, Letren obtained his Trans Union credit
file. ECF No. 78-16 at 3. The report showed that the Chase
Account had a balance of $0.00 as of October 6, 2008 with
former terms of $4, 222 due monthly and the status of the
account was “CBL: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.” ECF No.
78-15 at 9-11; see also ECF No. 78-16 at 3. Letren
proceeded to dispute the accuracy of the report with Trans
Union, first claiming on September 16, 2013 that “the
[Chase] Account should be deleted because Chase could not
adequately demonstrate that it was the legal holder of the
note.” ECF No. 68 at 2; see also ECF Nos.
78-15 at 8 & 78-16 at 3. Then, in a series of written
disputes with Trans Union over the next eleven months, Letren
shifted his allegation of the error - claiming on October 23,
2013 that the Chase Account was discharged in 2009
bankruptcy; on February 19, 2014 that the Chase Account was a
“duplicate of his Homeward Mortgage Account”; and
finally, on February 19, 2014, that the Chase Account should
be reported as discharged in bankruptcy and not past due. In
April 2015, the Chase Account was automatically removed from
Letren's credit file. ECF No. 78-15 at 4.
17, 2015, Letren, and co-plaintiff Candice Alston filed a
class action complaint, through counsel Kevin Chapple
(“Chapple”), against Experian Information
Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”). See Letren v.
Experian Information Solutions, Inc., No.
8:14-cv-03957-TDC (D. Md.). The allegations against Experian
rely in part on the misreporting of Letren's Chase
Account, claiming that the Chase Account, among other
mortgage accounts, was erroneously reported as due and owing
and not in bankruptcy. The Experian complaint also contended
the Chase Account was a duplicate of an account reported by
Homeward Residential. See Letren v. Experian Information
Solutions, Inc., ECF No. 15 at 5 n.3. As to the
purported error in Ms. Alston's consumer report, she
explicitly maintained that she did not have a mortgage
account with Wells Fargo and that Wells Fargo did not own or
service the account. Id. at 2.
This Civil Action
three months later, on October 6, 2015, Letren, proceeding
pro se, filed a class action complaint, alleging
violations of the FCRA against Experian Information
Solutions, Inc., Equifax Information Services, LLC, and Trans
Union. ECF No. 2. The Complaint asserted that Trans Union
falsely reported the Chase Account as due and owing when the
Chase Account was discharged in bankruptcy. The Complaint
provided no allegations of a duplicate account -
specifically, no allegations involving Homeward Residential,
or a third mortgage loan company, AHMA.
November 16, 2015, Attorney Chapple then entered his
appearance to represent Letren and the putative class. ECF
No. 12. Several weeks later, Chapple filed an amended class
action complaint (the “Amended Complaint”). ECF
No. 22. The Amended Complaint maintained both class and
individual claims, alleging that Defendant Trans Union
violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) (Counts I and II) and 15
U.S.C. § 1681i(a) (Counts III and IV) of the FCRA. ECF
regard to Letren's individual claims, the Amended
Complaint specifically alleged the Chase Account was
discharged in Letren's 2009 bankruptcy, and unambiguously
faults Trans Union for inaccurately reporting the Chase
Account as due and owing instead of discharged in bankruptcy.
See ECF No. 22 at ¶ 5, 8. The Amended Complaint
further complains that Trans Union failed to perform a
reasonable investigation into Letren's disputes and
instead continued to report the Chase Account inaccurately.
ECF No. 22 at ¶ 6. Importantly, at no place in the
original Complaint, the Amended Complaint, or for several
months thereafter in discovery, did Letren deny the Chase
Account's existence or clearly articulate his theory that
it was the same as the AMHA account. Rather, his main