On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. L-8703-07.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 14, 2009
Before Judges Rodríguez and Yannotti.
Plaintiff Emmanuel Odoemene appeals from an order entered by the trial court on October 24, 2008, granting summary judgment in favor of defendant Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc. (Greenpoint), and an order entered on December 19, 2008, denying his motion for reconsideration.
On October 31, 2007, plaintiff filed a complaint in the Law Division against Greenpoint, alleging that it fraudulently provided negative information to certain credit reporting agencies regarding plaintiff's loans. Plaintiff alleged that Greenpoint did not make the loans and several requests he made to correct the erroneous reports to the credit agencies were ignored. Plaintiff claimed that he sustained monetary damages due to the erroneous reports to the credit agencies.
On September 23, 2008, Greenpoint filed a motion for summary judgment. Greenpoint argued that plaintiff claims failed as a matter of law because the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1681 to 1681(x) (FCRA), does not establish a private cause of action against a lender for providing inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency. In support of its motion, Greenpoint submitted a certification from Betty Johnson (Johnson), who is a litigation paralegal for the company.
In her certification, Johnson explained that on November 6, 2006, plaintiff and his wife, Doris Odoemene, delivered a note to Wall Street Financial Corporation (Wall Street), evidencing a loan in the amount of $552,000, payable over a thirty-year period. To secure the repayment of the note, plaintiff and his wife executed and delivered to Wall Street a mortgage lien against their residence in Newark, New Jersey. The mortgage was recorded in the Office of the Clerk for Essex County. The note and mortgage were assigned to Greenpoint.
Johnson stated that the loan transaction had been initially scheduled to close in August 2006, with the first payment due on October 1, 2006. However, on the scheduled closing date, plaintiff refused to execute the loan documents due to his dissatisfaction with some of the terms in those documents. The transaction ultimately closed on November 6, 2006.
Johnson acknowledged that the lender erroneously informed the credit reporting agencies that the first payment on the loan had been due on October 1, 2006, and the first three monthly payments were thirty days late. Johnson stated that on December 14, 2006, December 15, 2006, and May 16, 2007, Greenpoint sent electronic notices and certain forms to the four major credit reporting agencies correcting the error "to show that the payments due under the note and mortgage were made in a current manner."
The trial court considered Greenpoint's motion on October 24, 2008, and placed its decision on the record. The court found that plaintiff did not have a cause of action under the FCRA against Greenpoint based on the provision of inaccurate information to the credit agencies. The court accordingly entered an order dated October 24, 2008, granting Greenpoint's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff thereafter filed a motion for reconsideration, which the court denied by order entered on December 19, 2008. This appeal followed.
When reviewing an order granting summary judgment, we apply the same standards that are applied by the trial court when ruling on a motion seeking that relief. Liberty Surplus Ins. Corp. v. Nowell Amoroso, P.A., 189 N.J. 436, 445-46 (2007); Stoffels v. Harmony Hill Farm, 389 N.J. Super. 207, 209 (App. Div. 2006). Summary judgment may be granted when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. R. 4:46-2(c); Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995).
Plaintiff argues that the trial court erroneously determined that he did not have a cause of action against Greenpoint under the FCRA based on the inaccurate reporting to the credit agencies that he was late ...