517 F.3d 1024 (8th Cir. 2008), 07-1529, Dowell v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA

Docket Nº:07-1529.
Citation:517 F.3d 1024
Party Name:Richard DOWELL; Julie Dowell, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. WELLS FARGO BANK, NA; Trans Union, L.L.C., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:February 28, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 1024

517 F.3d 1024 (8th Cir. 2008)

Richard DOWELL; Julie Dowell, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


WELLS FARGO BANK, NA; Trans Union, L.L.C., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 07-1529.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

February 28, 2008

Submitted: December 12, 2007.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

Page 1025

Theodore F. Sporer, argued, Des Moines, IA, for Appellant.

Richard A. Malm, argued, Des Moines, IA, for Appellee Wells Fargo Bank.

Christopher T. Lane, argued, Indianapolis, IN (Robert J. Schuckit and Wade D. Fulford, Indianapolis, IN, and Patrick B. White, Des Moines, IA, on the brief), for Appellee Trans Union.

Before BYE, ARNOLD, and MELLOY, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiff debtors brought claims against a lender and a credit reporting agency under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("the Act"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., the Iowa Debt Collection Practices Act, Iowa Code § 537.7101 et seq., and Iowa's common law of defamation. The district court1 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and we affirm.

Plaintiff Richard Dowell, a physician, had several private and federal student loans through Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. He consolidated only the private loans with Wells Fargo. Due to confusion on the part of Richard Dowell and his wife, Plaintiff Julie Dowell, as to which loans remained unconsolidated, Richard Dowell failed to make the necessary payments on all outstanding loans. Eventually, Wells Fargo and Richard Dowell reached an agreement and established a new payment plan. After entering into this agreement, he again failed to make the necessary payments.

Wells Fargo subsequently reported to credit reporting agencies, including Defendant Trans Union, that some of the loans were written-off. Wells Fargo transferred those loans to a separate Wells Fargo entity for asset recovery. The asset recovery entity separately reported the loans to credit bureaus and listed the loans as problem loans. This resulted in the appearance of a heightened number of outstanding bad loans. In addition, Wells Fargo changed the account numbers on some of the loans during the time period relevant to this case, as required to eliminate the use of social security numbers as account numbers. This change led to a temporary overstatement of the number of loans from Wells...

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