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Just got back from court...interesting

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Well... I went to court today over my Verizon account and the first thing the judge says: "why are you in a state court filing a federal complaint?"

I explained to him that the court clerk said I was in the right place (and I also asked the question on here a couple of months ago to see if I would need to file in federal court or not)...so I don't know what all that was about.

I showed him that I was also listing the California FDCPA under the counts, so he looked it all up (the dispute notice part..article 2.3(8)) and said "okay"

So we went through the whole testimony (35 pages of evidence from us), but the biggest problem of the whole case was that this judge admittedly knew pretty much zero about credit reporting or FCRA laws. He said he wasn't even able to look them up! He had no idea what a CO even is... so we had to explain it to him (among lots of other things) :shock:

So needless to say... our evidence and complaints of re-aging and the dispute notice pretty much went right out the window. He asked me why it would matter if the dispute notice was placed or not... I said it matters because it's the law, and if a potential lender pulls our report and it's not disputed, it appears we do in fact have a CO etc. So he said he'd look into it.

The funny thing is... what actually ended up being in our favor was evidence that the Verizon rep brought in. He showed all of the copies from the e-oscar disputes we filed.. and on one of them, it shows them verifying the TL (a paid CO), and then changing it to an UNpaid CO! LOL... idiots. He obviously didn't look at those disputes very well before going to court.. he should've just left that one out because we never would have known otherwise.

The other thing in our favor (also unknown to us) was that in March of this year NCO sent us a settlement agreement on the account, which we took. He brought in the copy of the check to show it. However, Verizon continued reporting it as an unpaid CO with a past due balance for the next 6 months until we disputed it. I told the judge "if it was settled, it should have been reported that way back in March". He obviously agreed and was not very impressed with their rep at all.

So, I think he'll rule in our favor (hopefully within the week), but I don't know how MUCH in our favor. We asked for $4,000 ($3,000 for FCRA and $1,000 for FDCPA) plus complete removal of the TLs from our credit files.

Okay... for the final part. I know that we can't appeal the decision, whichever way it goes...but can we still take it to federal court if we don't win? It's safe to say that out of everybody in that courtroom, we had the best knowledge of FCRA laws and credit reporting.. and that's scary since we don't know very much at all! I think we'd have a much better case if it was heard at the Federal level

Any thoughts?

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The judge told us we can't appeal... only the defendent can. Yes, it's small claims.

Okay... I just wasn't sure how it worked since they're different levels of courts. He made it sound as if we weren't in the right place to begin with, and since he could not really make any decisions on the FCRA laws, he should've just told us we'd have to re-file in Federal court so that we would have a decent fighting chance against Verizon with officials who know those particular laws better. I would rather re-file than lose over something as simple as lack of knowledge.

Also, the whole case for Verizon was to blame the CRA's for the false reporting. He said that they only give the information to the CRA's, and from that point on, they interpret it however they want to. Equifax is the one reporting the alternating CO's so if this ends up being the case, and EQ won't change the TL, we might have to take them to court next. Would that be a case for federal court?

Thanks again guys... I know it takes way more time than a few months of studying up on this stuff to know what the heck I'm doing... so any help is always appreciated!

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Honestly, you should have filed in federal. For one thing, there were also state law violations (RFDCPA and the california FCRA as well) that you could have recovered under (which you could have in small claims, but if you'd succeeded under them all, then you'd be over the limit for small claims).

But absolutely you can file in small claims and absolutely they are a court of (at least quasi) competent jurisdiction.

You might as well sue Equifax in small claims, they WILL remove it to federal on their own, and you can amend your complaint when they do.

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