Ford Motor Credit Company's wrongful credit reporting kills mortgage refinance. $379K. Los Angeles County.


Co-signer on an auto loan says Ford misreported payment and other credit information; that it damaged his credit score and prevented a mortgage refi.  Asks for emotional distress and punitive damages.

The Case

  • Case Name: Patrick Kealy v. Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC497696
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, August 25, 2017
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
  • Type of Case: Consumer Protection
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Elihu Berle
  • Plaintiffs:
    Patrick Kealy
  • Defendants:
    Ford Motor Credit Company, LLC
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $379,212.92
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    The jury found two instances of inaccurate credit reporting during the two-year limitation period.

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:

    $25,000 for emotional distress.

  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 10 days.
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 1 1/2 days.
  • Jury Polls: 12-0 on liability and defense; 11-1 on economic damages; 9-3 on emotional distress; and 10-2 on punitive damages.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Hua Gallai, LLP by Nicholas T. Hua and Giacomo Gallai, Beverly Hills.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:
  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Severson & Werson APC by Kristin Walker-Probst and David Berkley, Irvine.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Douglas Minor, consumer credit reporting.

    Frank Wisehart, economics, San Francisco.

    James Hibert, lending underwriting, Carlsbad.

  • Defendant's Technical Expert(s):

    John Ulzheimer, consumer credit reporting.

    Thomas Lambert, CPA, economics, San Diego.

    Neil Librock, lending, Emeryville.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff co-signed for a car lease. The vehicle lease at issue began in late 2005 and ended in late 2008. Defendant Ford Credit reported payments and other information inaccurately to credit reporting agencies.

    Plaintiff sued defendant for defendant's wrongful credit reporting violations of the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act.

    The relevant statutes of limitations were the 2011 to 2013 period, where Ford Credit furnished false information to the credit bureau. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That defendant engaged in inaccurate reporting on a vehicle lease and harmed his credit scores, preventing him from refinancing his mortgage.

    Plaintiff asserted a cause of action for violation of the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act's (CCRAA) civil code section 1785.25(a).

    Further, that Ford Motor Credit Company willfully reported inaccurate information to the credit reporting agencies, including inaccurate date of last payment, inaccurate date of first delinquency, inaccurate amounts owed as well as incorrect purge date; that Ford Credit had reported the purge date was 2020 when it was actually 2013; that such wrongful reporting  damaged plaintiff's credit.

    Plaintiff also alleged that the wrongful reporting was willful, entitling him to a maximum of punitive damages of up to $5,000 per violation per statute.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant denied liability, or that defendant caused damages to plaintiff. Defendant also asserted that they had reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of their reporting to comply with the CCRAA.

Additional Notes

Jury Verdict Alert contacted Defendant Ford Motor Credit Company LLC regarding this alert and it had ‘no comment’ on the content of the report.