Sanai v. Saltz, 170 Cal.App.4th 746 (2009)

That old cliche – “if something seems too good to be true it probably is” – is for losers. If something seems too good to be true, nail it down, then if the other side balks you sue and if at first you don’t succeed you keep litigating, if necessary for years and years.

Or at least that’s what a tenant did here. When a new landlord sent a lease seemingly reducing the rent on his Newport Beach apartment from $2,165 to $1,410, the tenant immediately agreed, then refused to budge when the landlord said the reduction was a misprint. The tenant kept paying the reduced rent, then moved out and refused to pay the landlord the alleged back rent. The landlord reported the tenant to Unlawful Detainer Registry, a perennial regular on these pages and no slouch itself on persistent litigation. When UDR’s report of the dispute to credit reporting companies interfered with the tenant’s credit, the tenant unsuccessfully sought to get UDR to include his side and when UDR allegedly failed to that, the tenant sued UDR. That was nine years and several appeals ago.

In the latest round, the Court of Appeal held that the tenant, if permitted to amend his complaint, might state claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Civ. Code § 1785.1 et seq., and that the latter statute is not preempted by the FCRA (a point of dispute among different courts). [Download]