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Murray v. Finance America

April 4, 2006

THOMAS A. MURRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FINANCE AMERICA, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Thomas A. Murray filed the present putative class action Complaint alleging that Defendant Finance America, LLC ("Finance America") obtained Murray's credit report for an impermissible purpose in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681b.*fn1 Before the Court are the parties' Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Murray's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court denies Finance America's Motion for Summary Judgment.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Finance America is a limited liability company chartered under Delaware law with its principal place of business in Irvine, California. (R. 45-1, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts, ¶ 1.) Finance America is an affiliate of Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, and originates sub-prime mortgage loans. (Id.)

In 2005, Finance America sent two "pre-screened" letters to Plaintiff Thomas A. Murray after obtaining his credit information from a consumer reporting agency. (R. 74-1, Def.'s Add'l Facts ¶ 62; R. 55-1, Pl.'s Add'l Stmt. Facts at ¶ 49.) The text of the front of one of these letters, marked as Exhibit A, reads as follows:

We are very pleased to inform you that you have been pre-qualified for a home loan from Finance America. To find out how much you qualify for, please call us today at 1-800-303-4944.

At Finance America, we have the resources to provide a home loan that best fits your needs. Whether you are looking to refinance your loan or purchase a new home, we offer fixed, interest-only and hybrid loan programs to fit most financial circumstances.

Getting a home loan has never been easier. There is no obligation. Nothing to fill out or complete now. All it takes is just one call.

Sincerely,

Michael Grant Lending Manager P.S. Call us today at 1-800-303-4944 to take advantage of your pre-qualified status and a free financial analysis. Don't forget to mention your personal reservation number listed above.

IMPRORTANT [sic] CALL 1-800-303-4944 (Pl.'s Add'l Stmt. Facts at ¶ 15, Ex. A.) The text of the front of the letter marked as Exhibit B reads as follows:

We have good news regarding your loan with your current mortgage lender! Based on our records, you have been pre-qualified for a home loan. Please call me today at 1-800-303-4944 to discuss the details.

Michael Grant Lending Manager (Id. ¶ 16, Ex. B.)

Murray did not give written permission to Finance America to obtain his consumer report. (Id. ¶ 12.) Further, Finance America's letters do not indicate the amount of credit or the minimum amount of credit to be extended to the borrower. (Id. ¶¶ 24-25.) In addition, Finance America does not state the loan's rate of interest or give a range of interest rates. (Id. ¶¶ 26-27.) Also, the letters do not indicate the method by which interest would be computed, the length of time over which the loan would be repaid, whether a ...


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