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Case Law: FCRA

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Check this list to find cases regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The cases highlighted in blue are the most famous cases that everyone doing credit repair should know about.

JOHNNY & TERESA BAKKER v. LAURA J. McKINNON

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/8th/973267p.pdf

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit - August 21, 1998

Laura J. McKinnon, an attorney, appeals from a final judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, following a bench 2 trial, finding that she had intentionally and willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA or the Act), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Bakker v. McKinnon, Civil No. 96-5112 (W.D. Ark. July 21, 1997) (mem. op.). The district court awarded to each appellee, Dr. Johnny L. Bakker and his two daughters, Teresa Bakker and Carrie Ann Bakker, $500 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitive damages. For reversal, appellant contends that the district court erred in finding that she violated the FCRA and in awarding an unreasonable amount for punitive damages.

The district court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question). This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. The notice of appeal was timely filed pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). For the reasons given herein, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

BENNIE BRYANT, v. TRW, INC.,

http://proselitigant.net/wwwthreads/Wc1b13055f9ac.htm

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit - September 20, 1982,

Plaintiff was an individual seeking credit to buy a house. Defendant was a credit reporting agency. Defendant supplied inaccurate information to a mortgage company, causing denial of plaintiff's home loan application. The home loan was eventually approved. Plaintiff sued for damages. The district court awarded plaintiff actual damages and attorneys' fees. Defendant appealed, contending that it was not liable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for accurately reporting information it received from consumers' creditors. The appellate court affirmed the district court's judgment. The court held that the FCRA § 607(B), 15 U.S.C.S. § 1681e(B), required a consumer reporting agency to do more than correctly report the information supplied to it by creditors. Plaintiff offered proofs from which the jury could properly have found that defendant's failure to use reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy caused damage to plaintiff's name and consequent anguish and humiliation.

Judgment affirmed where the jury could have found defendant's failure to use reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy damaged plaintiff.

CARMINE CASELLA, v. EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION SERVICES, and TRANS UNION CORPORATION

http://www.tourolaw.edu/2ndCircuit/june95/94-7547.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit - June 5, 1995

Casella brought this action against Equifax and Trans Union claiming various violations of the FCRA, including 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681c, 1681i©, and 1681g(a)(3)(A). Casella alleged, in substance, that appellees had prepared credit report containing false and defamatory information, and that they had refused either to delete the information or to include a statement of dispute in his credit file after he notified them of the inaccuracy.

TERRY COUSIN, v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/5th/9960429cv0.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - April 9, 2001

Defendant-Appellant Trans Union Corporation ("Trans Union") appeals, after a jury trial, a final judgment awarding Plaintiff-Appellee Terry Cousin("Cousin") $50,000 in compensatory damages and $4,470,000 in punitive damages for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681u,(1) and for defaming Cousin with malice. Because no reasonable jury could have found that Trans Union acted willfully or with malice and because there was insufficient evidence of actual damages, we vacate the district court's judgment and render in favor of Trans Union.

JERRY L. CRABILL, v. TRANS UNION, L.L.C.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/7th/002078.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit - July 30, 2001

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. sec.sec. 1681-1681t, creates a federal remedy against a credit reporting agency that fails to follow "reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy" of the information contained in a consumer's credit report. sec.sec. 1681e(B), 1681o, 1681n; Henson v. CSC Credit Services, 29 F.3d 280 (7th Cir. 1994). The plaintiff, Jerry Crabill, appeals from the grant of summary judgment to the defendant, credit agency Trans Union.

JENNIFER CUSHMAN, v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/3rd/971610p.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit - June 9, 1997

This appeal concerns, among other issues, the extent of a consumer reporting agency's obligation, pursuant to section 611(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681i(a) (1982), to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation of information on a consumer's credit report alleged by the consumer to be inaccurate. We hold that the

district court erred to the extent that it concluded as a matter of law that defendant Trans Union Corporation ("TUC") fulfilled its obligation under § 1681i(a). Therefore, we will reverse and remand the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff-appellant Jennifer Cushman's claim for negligent noncompliance with that

section.

We also hold that Cushman has produced sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that she has proved the publication element of her defamation claim and her claims pursuant to the Vermont Fair Credit Reporting Act ("VFCRA"), VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 9, §§ 2480a et seq. (1993). We will reverse and remand the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law on those claims. Finally, we remand to the district court to determine whether Cushman has produced evidence sufficient to justify an award of punitive damages and to avoid preemption of her defamation claim.

RICHARD J. DALTON v. CAPITAL ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES

http://www.branon.com/Fourth%20Circuit%20Opinion.pdf

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit - July 16, 2001

Capital Associated Industries, Inc. (CAI) erroneously reported to Richard Dalton’s prospective employer that he had been convicted of felony assault. Dalton sued CAI and three of its employees under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681e(B) and 1681k, for following inadequate procedures in reporting his criminal history. Dalton also asserted several state law claims against the defendants. The district court threw out all of Dalton’s claims, with some dismissed under Rule 12(B)(6) and some disposed of on summary judgment under Rule 56. This appeal deals only with the summary judgment and focuses mainly on whether there are triable issues on Dalton’s claims that CAI’s failure to follow FCRA-mandated procedures led it to issue a false report on his criminal record. We vacate the award of summary judgment to CAI on Dalton’s FCRA claims because he has proffered evidence that reveals disputed issues of material fact. We affirm the grant of summary judgment on all other claims.

SHARON M. DETERS, v. EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION SERVICES, INC.

http://www.kscourts.org/ca10/cases/2000/02/97-3340.htm

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit – February 1, 2000

Equifax"), appeals from a $300,000 judgment entered on a jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff-Appellee, Sharon Deters ("Ms. Deters"), on her sexual harassment claim. The jury awarded Ms. Deters $5,000 in compensatory damages, and $1,000,000 in punitive damages, later reduced by the court to $295,000 based on the cap established by 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(B)(3). The district court denied Equifax's post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law, or alternatively for a new trial or remittitur. See Deters v. Equifax Credit Information Servs., 981 F. Supp. 1381, 1384 (D. Kan. 1997). On appeal, Equifax contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support punitive damages based upon a supervisor's alleged failure to investigate and take prompt corrective action to stop the harassment; (2) it is not responsible for the conduct of its supervisor either because it had no knowledge of that conduct or the supervisor was not a policy maker and was acting in accordance with corporate policy, (3) the district court erred in denying its post-trial motion for a new trial or remittitur, and (4) the district court erred in admitting a videotape recounting sexual harassment, thereby depriving it of a fair trial. Our jurisdiction arises under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and we affirm.

JAMES DUNCAN, v. KENNETH S. HANDMAKER, MIDDLETON & REUTLINGER, P.S.C.

http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit/june98/98a0182p.06.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – June 8, 1998

Information is power, as any good attorney knows. Those who hunger for information often need look no further than to a person's consumer report--which summarizes, among other things, credit history and credit worthiness. Given the value of this data, and the rise of the credit reporting industry, it is not surprising that Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to regulate consumer reporting agencies and the users of consumer reports. See generally Hovater v. Equifax, Inc., 823 F.2d 413, 416-17 (11th Cir. 1987). Nor is it surprising that some individuals seek to capitalize on general language in the FCRA and thereby construe it as allowing them access to the data they desire. In this appeal, the information-seekers--an attorney and his law firm--argue that the FCRA permits them to obtain consumer reports in the course of defending their client against a lawsuit. We conclude, however, that the FCRA does not generally permit consumer reports to be procured for this purpose. We also find genuine issues of fact with respect to whether the attorney and his firm may be held civilly liable for violations of the FCRA.

ROBERTA L. EVANTASH, v. G.E. CAPITAL MORTGAGE SERVICES,

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/03D0568P.pdf

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania – November 2003

Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 24) and Defendant Trans Union LLC’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 25). For the reasons discussed below, Defendants’ Motions are

Plaintiff Roberta L. Evantash and her husband, Bernard Evantash, are co-obligors on a mortgage loan with G.E. Capital Mortgage Services, Inc. (“G.E. Capital”) bearing account number 15175516 (the “Account”). On March 6, 2000, Bernard Evantash filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code and included the Account in his schedule. Upon receiving electronic notification from the bankruptcy court that Mr. Evantash had filed for bankruptcy and included the Account in his schedule, Trans Union LLC (“Trans Union”) began reporting the Account on Plaintiff’s credit report as “INCLUDED IN BANKRUPTCY.”

GREG and MARY HENSON v. CSC CREDIT SERVICES, TRANS UNION CORPORATION, and COSCO FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/op3.fwx?yr=93&num=3441&Submit1=Request+Opinion

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit - July 11, 1994

This case has its origin in an earlier suit filed in an Indiana state court by the Cosco Federal Credit Union against one of the plaintiffs, Greg Henson, and his brother Jeff. In that action, the state court clerk erroneously noted in the Judgment Docket that a money judgment had been entered against Greg. Two credit reporting agencies, CSC Credit Services and Trans Union Corporation, relied on the state court Judg ment Docket and indicated in Greg's credit report that he owed the money judgment. Greg and Mary Henson sub sequently brought this suit against Cosco, CSC, and Trans Union. They sought recovery against CSC and Trans Union for violating various provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. sec. 1681 through 1681t, and alleged several state law claims against Cosco. The district court dismissed the Hensons' second amended complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

LINDA JOHNSON v. MBNA AMERICA BANK, NA

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/4th/031235p.pdf

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit - February 11, 2004

MBNA America Bank, N.A. (MBNA) appeals a judgment entered against it following a jury verdict in favor of Linda Johnson in her action alleging that MBNA violated a provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), see 15 U.S.C.A. § 1681s-2(B)(1) (West 1998) (amended Dec. 4, 2003), by failing to conduct a reasonable investigation of Johnson’s dispute concerning an MBNA account appearing on her credit report. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.

KAREN JONES, v. FEDERATED FINANCIAL RESERVICE CORPORATION

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/6th/980157p.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit – May 22, 1998

This appeal requires us to determine if civil liability under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. , may be imposed on an employer for its employee's actions under a theory of apparent authority. Plaintiff-Appellant Karen Jones brought suit against defendants Federated Financial Reserve Corporation ("Federated"), TRW, Inc., Randy Lind and Janice Caylor, claiming that the defendants willfully and negligently violated the FCRA in connection with the acquisition of a report concerning Jones's credit status. Jones appeals the district court's entry of a directed verdict in favor of Federated on Jones's willful noncompliance claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681n; the district court's instruction to the jury on Jones's negligent noncompliance claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681o; the district court's denial of Jones's motion for a new trial; and the district court's exclusion of Jones's expert witness. Because we disagree with the standard of liability relied on by the district court, we reverse the district court's entry of a directed verdict on Jones's willful noncompliance claim as well as the jury's verdict on the negligence claim, and remand for further proceedings.

GRACE LAWRENCE V. TRANS UNION LLChttp://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/03D0586P.pdf

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania - December 11, 2003

On July 3, 2002, plaintiff Grace Lawrence (“Lawrence”) filed this action against defendant Trans Union (“TU”), a credit reporting agency, for damages sustained when TU allegedly published false information on her credit report. Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is denied in part and granted in part.

WILLIAM D. LOCKARD, v. EQUIFAX, INC

http://www.law.emory.edu/11circuit/dec98/97-8023.man.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - Dec. 31, 1998

In this case, plaintiff-appellant William D. Lockard alleged that he was denied credit because of outstanding debts on his credit report that he did not owe. He brought this suit in state court under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, and state law causes of action against numerous defendants. The defendants removed the case to federal district court, and the district court denied Lockard's motion to remand. The district court also denied Lockard's motion to amend his complaint against two of the defendants, denied his motion to transfer the case to Louisiana, and dismissed some of the defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court issued a final order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(B) for the dismissed defendants. Lockard raises four issues on appeal: the denial of his motion to remand, the denial of his motion to amend the complaint, the denial of his motion to transfer, and the dismissal of the defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction. We dismiss the appeal of the denial of the motion to amend the complaint for lack of jurisdiction, and affirm the district court's ruling on the other three issues.

MICHAEL J. NAGLE, vs. EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC.

http://laws.lp.findlaw.com/11th/0111866.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - July 18, 2002

Plaintiff Michael Nagle brought this action against Defendant Experian Information Solutions, Inc. ("Experian") claiming that Experian had negligently and willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681.1 He sought actual damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs. The jury found that Experian had negligently violated the FCRA, but awarded neither actual or punitive damages. Nagle moved the district court to award him attorneys fees pursuant to § 1681o, which permits an award of attorneys' fees and costs in the case of a "successful action to enforce any liability under this section." Experian opposed that motion, claiming that Nagle had not brought a "successful action to enforce any liability" because the jury did not award actual or punitive damages. The district court subsequently granted Nagle's motion for attorneys' fees, and awarded fees in an amount in excess of $100,000. Experian appeals the entry of judgment in favor of Nagle, the award of attorney's fees, and the amount of attorney's fees awarded.

The crux of this case is whether Nagle brought a successful action to enforce liability under the FCRA. If he did, the district court correctly granted his motion for attorneys fees. Nagle contends that he was "successful" because judgment was entered in his favor. Experian claims that he was not "successful" because the jury did not award him damages.

TOBY D. NELSON, v. CHASE MANHATTAN MORTGAGE CORP.,

http://www.law.com/regionals/ca/opinions/mar/0015946.shtml

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - Filed March 1, 2002

Toby D. Nelson ("Nelson" ) appeals the judgment of the district court for the District of Nevada dismissing his suit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § § 1681-1681u ("the FCRA" ) for failure to state a cause of action against the defendant Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation ("Chase" ). Holding that section 1681s-2(B) does create a cause of action for a consumer against a furnisher of credit information, we reverse the judgment of the district court.

JAMES J. O'CONNOR v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/99d0806p.pdf

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania - September 28, 1999

On July 16, 1997, the Plaintiff James J. O'Connor ("O'Connor" or Plaintiff") brought this action against Defendant Trans Union Corporation LLC ("Defendant" or "Trans Union") alleging various violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. (1988) ("FCRA") and Pennsylvania tort law. In his complaint, O'Connor alleges, in substance, that Defendant prepared credit report containing false and defamatory information, and that it refused to delete the information from his credit file after he notified it of the inaccuracy.

JAMES R. PHILBIN, JR. v. TRANS UNION CORPORATION; TRW CREDENTIALS

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/3rd/961470p.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit - December 6, 1996

Plaintiff James R. Philbin, Jr. appeals two orders of the district court, the first dated November 29, 1994, and the second and final order dated December 8, 1995, granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. This appeal raises issues regarding the elements of a cause of action pursuant to § 607(B) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(B), and the nature of plaintiff's burden in demonstrating a prima facie case pursuant to such a cause of action, questions we have not yet had occasion to address. For the reasons that follow, the judgment of the district court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

LAVON PHILLIPS V. MARY K. GRENDAHL; ECON CONTROL, INC

http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/02/12/012616P.pdf

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit -

Lavon Phillips appeals from the district court's entry of summary judgment against him in his Fair Credit Reporting Act and Minnesota tort law claims against his prospective mother-in-law, Mary K. Grendahl; a detective agency, McDowell Agency, Inc.;2 and Econ Control, Inc., doing business as Sherlock Information System. The district court held that there was no evidence that Grendahl or the other defendants had obtained a credit report on Phillips by false pretenses. The court rejected Phillips's contention that he had pleaded a claim for wrongful disclosure of a consumer report and stated that such a claim would not be viable anyway because the document at issue in this case was not a "consumer report" covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Finally, the court held that Phillips's invasion of privacy claim failed because there was no publication of a matter that would be "highly offensive to a reasonable person." Phillips challenges each of the district court's conclusions. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for trial.

GARY A. PODELL, v. CITICORP DINERS CLUB, INC., CITICORP CREDIT SERVICES, INC., NISSAN MOTOR ACCEPTANCE CORPORATION, SALON FURNITURE CO., AND EQUIFAX, INC., TRW INC. AND TRANS UNION CORPORATION

http://www.tourolaw.edu/2ndCircuit/May97/96-7246.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit - May 5, 1997

Appeal from a final judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Haight, J.) granting defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismissing all of plaintiff's claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681u, and under New York state law. Plaintiff claims that: (1) disputed issues of material fact remain as to defendants' liability under both FCRA and state law; and (2) the district court erred as a matter of law in its alternative ruling that claims for damages for business or commercial losses are not cognizable under FCRA.

Affirmed.

RICHARDSON, v. FLEET, EQUIFAX, et al

http://proselitigant.net/wwwthreads/Wc59d0bd2d89b8.htm

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts - August 10, 2001

The consumers claimed that a third-party bank had improperly reported a charge off in the consumers' name, and that the company continued to indicate the improper charge off on the consumers' credit reports. The court held that as to the claim that the company failed to follow reasonable procedures, relying on creditors for accurate credit information had not necessarily constituted a reasonable procedure as a matter of law since the company had reason to know of the dispute between the consumers and the company. The consumers sent notices to the company regarding errors in their credit history on at least three occasions before the company prepared its credit report for a third party creditor. Hence, a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether it was reasonable for the company to rely exclusively on the information provided by the third-party bank. As to causation, the consumers submitted letters from the third-party creditor, rejecting their applications for credit, and citing to the company's credit report as the primary reason. Finally, no evidence indicated that the company willfully misrepresented or concealed any part of a credit report from the consumers.

RICHARD L. SHEFFER, v. EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC., et al.,

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/03D0300P.pdf

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA - July 24, 2003

Plaintiff Richard L. Sheffer commenced this action against Defendants Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Equifax Information Services, LLC (“Equifax”), Trans Union, LLC (“Trans Union”), and Sears Roebuck & Co. (“Sears”).1 Presently before the Court are Trans Union’s Motion for Summary Judgment, Equifax’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, and Sears’s Joinder to the Motions for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ motions are denied.

RICHARD L. SHEFFER, v. EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, INC.,

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/03D0066P.HTM

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania - February , 2003

Plaintiff Richard L. Sheffer commenced this action against Defendants Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Equifax Information Services, LLC, Equifax, Inc., Trans Union, LLC, and Sears Roebuck & Co. ("Sears"). Defendant Sears has moved to dismiss the claims against it pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(B)(6). This case presents an issue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act that has not been addressed in a reported opinion by this Court or the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and I hold that 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(B) provides consumers with a private right of action against credit furnishers. Consistent with this holding and for the additional reasons set forth below, I deny Sears's motion.

LESLIE K. SPENCE, v. TRW, INC.

http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit/aug96/96a0264p.06.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit - August 13, 1996

The plaintiff, Leslie K. Spence, alleged in the first three counts of his complaint that defendant TRW, Inc., a credit reporting agency, violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(B) by failing to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information contained in a certain residential mortgage credit report released by TRW on September 12, 1992. Count IV of the complaint alleged that TRW violated § 1681b by furnishing a copy of the report to Michigan Consolidated Gas Company ("MichCon") under circumstances not authorized by law. The fifth and final count alleged that TRW violated § 1681c(4) by including in the report information on an account (the same one the accuracy of which was challenged in Count I) placed for collection more than seven years before the release of the report.

SCOTT, v. REAL ESTATE FINANCE

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/2nd/987935.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit - July 09, 1999

Jonathan and Robert Scott, who are brothers, sued several defendants including ERA Gatewood Realty, Inc. ("Gatewood") and broker Ira Simonoff, alleging that the defendants violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, 1681a-1681u, as well as New York's Fair Credit Reporting Act ("NYFCRA"), N.Y. Gen. Bus. L. §§ 380, 380-a-380-s. The Scotts claimed that Gatewood and Simonoff obtained and used their credit reports without proper notice or authorization and by means of false pretenses. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Spatt, J .) granted summary judgment in favor of Gatewood and Simonoff and denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. See Scott v. Real Estate Finance Group , 956 F. Supp. 375, 386 (E.D.N.Y. 1997). We affirm in part and reverse in part.

SCHOENDORF v. U.D. REGISTER, INC

http://www.casp.net/schoen.html

February 27, 2002

Defendant U.D. Registry, Inc. (UDR), is a consumer reporting agency that gathers information about unlawful detainer cases and sells it to landlords and other subscribers. Plaintiff Faye Schoendorf, a tenant, filed this action against UDR, alleging that it was providing misleading and incomplete information about her.

UDR moved to strike the complaint under section 425.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which prohibits "strategic lawsuits against public participation," better known by the acronym "SLAPP." The trial court concluded that this action was a meritless attempt to chill UDR's constitutional rights and granted the motion.

On appeal UDR contends that it was not required to make any changes in plaintiff's report because the information she provided was not a matter of public record. We conclude that plaintiff made a sufficient showing that UDR should have modified her report even if the additional information was not contained in court files or similar sources. Accordingly, we reverse

SEPULVADO, v. CSC CREDIT SERVICES

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/5th/9750423cv0.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - October 23, 1998

CSC Credit Services, Inc. (CSC) appeals from judgment entered in favor of plaintiffs Sheree and Edward Sepulvado, after a bench trial, in this matter brought pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681 - 1681(t). We reverse, and render judgment in favor of the defendant, CSC. The Sepulvados' claim that an erroneous credit item on a report prepared by CSC caused Texas Homestead Mortgage Company (Texas Homestead) to deny them a mortgage for the purchase of a new home. The material facts relating to the parties' conduct are essentially undisputed.

LESLIE K. SPENCE v. TRW, INC.

http://www.law.emory.edu/6circuit/aug96/96a0264p.06.html

United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit - August 13, 1996

Under 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(3)(E), "[a] consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report . . . [t]o a person which it has reason to believe . . . has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer." MichCon asked TRW for a copy of the residential mortgage credit report after Mr. Spence had sued MichCon for alleged false reporting of a past-due debt to TRW. The filing of the lawsuit obviously gave TRW reason to believe that MichCon had a "legitimate business need" for the report, such a need having arisen in connection with the preparation of MichCon's defense to the lawsuit. See Ippolito v. WNS, Inc., 864 F.2d 440, 450-452 (7th Cir. 1988), cert. dismissed, 490 U.S. 1061 (1989); Matthews v. Worthen Bank & Trust Co., 741 F.2d 217, 219 (8th Cir. 1984). TRW did not violate § 1681b in furnishing the report to MichCon

JOHN STEVENSON, v. TRW INC

http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/91/91-07142-cv0.htm

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - April 1, 1993

TRW Inc. is a credit-reporting firm that appeals a judgment against it for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681-1681t). Following a bench trial, the district court awarded John M. Stevenson actual damages of $30,000 for mental anguish, punitive damages of $100,000, and attorney's fees of $20,700 for TRW Inc.'s negligent and willful violations of the Act. After carefully reviewing the record, we affirm the district court's findings of negligence and the award of actual damages and attorney's fees, but we reverse the finding of willfulness and vacate the award of punitive damages.

JUDY C. THOMAS v. TRANS UNION LLC

http://proselitigant.net/wwwthreads/Wc45bc78aaec3f.htm

United States District Court for the District of Oregon - March 21, 2002

Plaintiff individual sued defendant credit reporting agency for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1681 et seq., claiming that the reporting agency failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information in its credit reports. The individual moved for partial summary judgment. The matter was referred a magistrate judge.

TRW INC, v. ADELAIDE ANDREWS

http://supreme.lp.findlaw.com/supreme_court/briefs/00-1045/2000-1045.mer.ami.html

United States Supreme Court – May 2001

Whether the limitation period under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., which allows private damage actions "to enforce any liability created under [the Act]" to be brought "within two years from the date on which the liability arises," begins to run at the time of an alleged violation, even if the potential plaintiff has no reason to know that she has been injured.

JAMES S. YANG & CLAIRE G. YANG, v. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/11th/978432man.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - July 22, 1998

While investigating an insurance claim, the appellee, Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), obtained information from a credit reporting agency regarding the appellants, James and Claire Yang. The Yangs commenced the present lawsuit alleging that GEICO violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1681-1681u (West 1997 & Supp.1998). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of GEICO, holding that GEICO's conduct was not subject to FCRA restrictions because the document GEICO obtained regarding the Yangs was not a "consumer report." We reverse.

DEBORAH WILSON v. RENTAL RESEARCH SERVICES, INC

http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/briefs/wilsonamicus.pdf

BRIEF ON REHEARING EN BANC OF AMICUS CURIAE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION SUPPORTING REVERSAL OF LOWER COURT’S DECISION

Section 607(B) of the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(B), requires consumer reporting agencies to “follow reasonable procedures” in preparing consumer reports “to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates.”1 Defendant-Appellee, Rental Research Services, Inc. (“Rental Research”), is a consumer reporting agency that provides information about prospective tenants to subscribing landlords.2 The information that Rental Research sells comes from multiple data bases, including housing court records and credit reports from TRW Inc., which, like Equifax and Trans Union Corporation, is a national consumer reporting agency that serves as a repository for credit information.3 Thus, TRW sells information to “resellers” like Rental Research, which then include the information in reports to such end users as mortgage companies, banks, and landlords.

BERNITA WASHINGTON; KEVIN WASHINGTON; PEGGY MALBROUGH; ROY MALBROUGH, JR; BERNICE AUGUSTINE GUICHARD; VERNON GUICHARD, JR, v. CSC CREDIT SERVICES INC; EQUIFAX CREDIT INFORMATION SERVICES INC

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&case=/data2/circs/5th/9831209cv0.html

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - January 7, 2000

Plaintiffs-appellees Bernita and Kevin Washington (the "Washingtons"), Peggy and Ray Malbrough (the "Malbroughs"), and Bernice and Vernon Guichard (the "Guichards") (collectively, the "consumers") allege that defendants-appellants CSC Credit Services, Inc. ("CSC") and Equifax Inc. ("Equifax") (collectively, the "reporting agencies") violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA" or "the Act"). The district court certified the consumers as class representatives and the reporting agencies challenge this ruling. We reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand.

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Crane v. Trans Union, LLC, 282 F.Supp.2d 311, 317 (E.D. Pa., 2003), Cushman v. Trans Union, 115 F.3d 220, 225 (3rd Cir. 1997). (“The ‘grave responsibility’ imposed by §1681i(a) must consist of something more than merely parroting information received from other sources.”)

thanks Swede, nice thread..I will have more to add to this when I close my present TU file. cheers

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Intereting new case on the interplay between the FCRA and the ECOA:

http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/op3.fwx?submit1=showop&caseno=03-2828.PDF

Ineresting indeed - even if she lost her FCRA claim. Good thing the Car Dealer lost their judgment claims - the scumbags.

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On the illegality of the credit bureaus using eOscar:

Cushman v TransUnion, Stevenson v. TRW (Experian), and Richardson v. Fleet, Equifax. The courts ruled each and every time that the CRA couldn't merely "parrot" information from the creditors and collection agencies...that they have to conduct an independent REASONABLE investigation to ensure the validity of the debt and the honesty/integrity of the creditor/CA in question.

Here are the links to these cases:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/legal/CushmanVsTransUnion.shtml

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/legal/Richardson_Vs_Fleet_Equifax_TransUnion_Experian_Providian.shtml

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/legal/Stevenson_Vs_TRW.shtml

Here's an interesting article..

http://yahoo.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2002/tc20020829_8532.htm

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Creditors can not make inquiries on a consumer's credit once an account is closed and paid:

http://www.ltclg.com/Pages/Law%20Library/Cases/Levine%20vs%20World%20Financial.pdf

Actually this case doesn't say creditors can or cannot inquire a consumer file if the account is closed. This appeal only determines that the district court made a mistake in dismissing Levine's case for reason of failing to state a claim of damages. The actual determination of if Experian was guilty of violating the FCRA was remanded back down to the district court to decide upon and wasn't examined in this appeal at all.

Gotta pull the remanded case to see if Levine won or not.

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Back in the AoC days, I remember a case showing that a creditor could make an INQ even if the account was closed to make sure they were reporting correctly.

Earlier this year, I was bored and perusing findlaw and saw there was a similar PP case in the 11th circuit that could've made contrary caselaw.

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Actually this case doesn't say creditors can or cannot inquire a consumer file if the account is closed. This appeal only determines that the district court made a mistake in dismissing Levine's case for reason of failing to state a claim of damages. The actual determination of if Experian was guilty of violating the FCRA was remanded back down to the district court to decide upon and wasn't examined in this appeal at all.

Gotta pull the remanded case to see if Levine won or not.

Actually, I thought that's what the court was saying - that there wasn't a permissible purpose to pull. I'm curious, why you don't think that was a major point of the case?

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Actually, I thought that's what the court was saying - that there wasn't a permissible purpose to pull. I'm curious, why you don't think that was a major point of the case?

Basically, the court was saying that Levine had the right to argue his case. It did not decide it -- it just reversed and remanded the trial judge's decision. However, the use of "prima facie" sounds to me like they probably settled.

Levine’s complaint alleged that Experian violated FCRA when it provided his credit report to a former creditor with whom Levine no longer had an open or active account. Levine claims that Experian did not make a reasonable effort to safeguard his confidential information and that it had reasonable grounds to believe that the request was for an impermissible purpose under the FCRA, notwithstanding the fact that the former creditor stated the report was for “account review.” Concluding that Levine has made out a prima facie claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1681n, we REVERSE the district court’s order and REMAND for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
According to Levine’s complaint, at the time Experian sold his credit report to Structure, Experian knew that: (1) Levine’s account with Structure had been voluntarily closed and paid in full for years; (2) Levine could no longer use the account; (3) Levine had not disputed any information on the account; (4) Structure did not ask solely for information regarding its own trade line but instead requested the entire credit report; and (5) Structure twice requested his credit report from Experian within the span of about three months.
There is a difference in opinion on whether the ambiguous language in FCRA contains an absolute prohibition against the sale of credit reports to former creditors whose accounts are closed and paid in full. Compare Wilting v. Progressive County Mut. Ins. Co., 227 F.3d 474, 476 (5th Cir. 2000) (per curiam) (“[N]either [FCRA] nor the FTC’s commentary on [FCRA] suggests that a report may only be permissibly obtained during particular points in the parties’ relationship.”), with Letter from Clarke W. Brinckerhoff , Federal Trade Commission, to Kenneth J. Benner, American Council on Consumer Awareness (Aug. 30, 1999) (“Once an account is closed because the consumer has paid the debt in full . . . it is our view that no permissible purpose exists for a [consumer reporting agency] to provide file information . . . to the creditor. Because there no longer exists any account to ‘review’ and the consumer is not applying for credit, the FCRA provides no permissible purpose for the creditor to receive a consumer report from [the agency].”). Citing 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(a)(2), Experian argues that a former creditor has a duty under FCRA to provide accurate information to the consumer reporting agency and that a request for a credit report is a permissible way to comply with this duty. See also Zeller v. Samia, 758 F. Supp. 775, 781 (D. Mass. 1991) (creditor permissibly obtained plaintiff’s consumer credit report as part of effort to verify that information had been correctly recorded).
In the absence of discovery and a more fully developed record, we reserve judgment on whether there is an absolute prohibition against such requests by former creditors for accounts that are closed and paid in full. However, such a decision is not necessary to determine whether Levine presents a colorable claim against Experian. Levine alleges that his report was twice requested within the span of a few months despite his account being closed for years with an undisputed zero balance. A simple recitation of “account review” by a former creditor does not automatically absolve Experian of its duty to protect confidential information when there are reasonable indications that the request was for other purposes. In light of the legislative findings in FCRA and considering the standard of review, we conclude that the question of whether Experian had “reasonable grounds” to believe that Structure intended to use Levine’s consumer report for an impermissible purpose, or whether Experian made “reasonable efforts” to verify the validity of Structure’s request, is a fact intensive one that is not resolved by the pleadings. The question of whether this noncompliance, if it exists at all, results from willful defiance or negligence is also not resolved by the pleadings.

BTW, the case is still going strong. On 11/14, Plaintiff filed the certificate of service for the Interogatories, Admissions, and Request for Production of Documents. This case was initially filed in May, 2004. Both WFNNB and Structure are out; the only remaining parties are Experian and Levine.

On October 24, 2006: "ORDER denying 54 Experian's Motion to Strike Class Allegations and further ORDERING parties to comply with new deadlines: The parties have until January 2, 2007, to conduct further discovery so that Mr. Levine may ready a Motion for Class Certification; that Motion for Class Certification is due no later than January 12, 2007; the parties will then have three months following the court?s ruling on the Motion for Class Certification to conduct further discovery as is necessary. Signed by Judge Beverly B. Martin on 10/24/2006. (pdw) (Entered: 10/24/2006)"

So it's a class action suit still as well.

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Overview: Linda Mullins v. TU. ED of Virginia (Richmond).

Case was tried 2/22 and 2/23, 2007.

Only 1681i.

$120,000 jury verdict. 20k actual damages. 100k punitives.

Facts: Client was a 63 year old grandmother. Her husband filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 1999. He included several credit card accounts which later became the subject of this litigation. Those accounts ended up on Linda’s credit report. Creditors and CRAs claimed they were hers. She was only an authorized user. No one retained copies of applications of anything signed by her. Cap One, MBNA, Collect America and Citibank. She had made three disputes to TU – 1/04, 3/04 and 2/05. First was handwritten letter that clearly said these are my husbands accts. No docs attached. Second was a more detailed letter written by husband's BK atty Bob Weed. He attached the discharge order and Cert. of service from the BK. Third was a short letter set by Bob. Citi card came off automatically because it had been reported as AU. Cap One came off after Bob separately dealt with Cap One for the husband in the BK context. MBNA and Collect America (for MBNA) stayed on basically until the litigation. Plaintiff had applied for a loan in 11/05 to borrow 20k for a septic system so she could move a mobile home to a piece of land her family had. Denied in part because of the TU report. There was alleged alternate causation. She began counseling in 2006 (both the loan app and the counseling occurred after we had filed suit). She had emotional distress, but again, TU alleged alternate causation.

Pretrial Matters: Plaintiff had moved for partial SJ on accuracy, but the court denied it (and defendants’ SJ motions as well) without substantive opinion – “lots of facts in dispute, so not going to grant anyone’s motion”). Judge later stated expressly his regret at not granting plaintiff's motion. Plaintiff moved in limine to exclude all evidence or argument that she was responsible on the accounts. Plaintiff won. The court instructed the jury that TU’s reporting was inaccurate.

Plaintiff tried to identify a number of prior TU court opinions as trial exhibits to prove its notice that it may not parrot. Cushman, Crane, Evantash, Lawrence, Soghomonian. Court struck the exhibits and instead gave an instruction something like: “Since 1997, on several occasions, federal courts have informed TU that a reasonable reinvestigation must consists of something more than parroting or relying exclusively on a creditor.”

Jury instructions. Court defined “reinvestigation” to mean same thing 4th Circuit defined for investigation – systematic, careful examination, searching and meaningful inquiry.

Trial Evidence: Witnesses for Plaintiff, in order - Eileen Little [on cross]; Bank denial testimony by depo transcript; Plaintiff’s counselor; Plaintiff. Defendant’s testimony – William Stockdale and again Eileen Little.

Epilogue: The Court’s rulings reject completely the Lee v. Experian garbage and adopt Cushman and Johnson, which are consistent with the historical rulings.

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Can't pull a credit report if you are a collection agency

FOR PUBLICATION

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

MARIA E. PINT05,

Plaint UT Appellant,

v. No. 04-17485

PACIFIC CREDITORS ASSOCIATION; D.C. No.

EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, CV-03 -05471 -CW

INC.,

De!ndants-Appellees.

MARIA E. PINT05,

Plaint UT App ellee,

V No. 04-17558

PACIFIC CREDITORS ASSOCIATION,

D.C. No.

Delendant, CV-03-0547 1 -CW

and OPINION

EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS,

INC.,

De!ndant-Appellant.

Appeal from the United States District Court

for the Northern District of California

Claudia Wilken, District Judge, Presiding

Argued and Submitted

January 9, 2007—San Francisco, California

Maria E. Pintos appeals the district court’s summary adjudication

of her claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

(“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Pintos contends that

Pacific Creditors Association violated the FCRA by obtaining,

without any FCRA-sanctioned purpose, a credit report on

her from Experian Information Solutions, Inc., a credit reporting

agency. Pintos also argues that Experian violated the

FCRA by furnishing the report to PCA.

The district court granted summary judgment in favor of

the defendants. Relying on our decision in Hasbun v. County

of Los Angeles, 323 F.3d 801 (9th Cir. 2003), the court held

that PCA was authorized to obtain Pintos’s credit report under

15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A) because it was attempting to collect

a debt from Pintos. Hasbun held that debt collection was

a permissible purpose for obtaining a credit report, but we

decided that case prior to the enactment of the Fair and Accurate

Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (“FACTA”), Pub. L. No.

108-159, 117 Stat. 1952. FACTA makes clear that debt collection

is a permissible purpose for obtaining a credit report

under § 1681b(a)(3)(A) only in connection with a “credit

transaction” in which a consumer has participated directly and

voluntarily. Because PCA obtained a credit report on Pintos

unrelated to any such transaction, we reverse the district court

with respect to Pintos’s claims against PCA and remand for

further proceedings with respect to damages and to Experian’s

liability.

You can download this entire case and FACTA from this site:

www.michigancollectionlawblog.com/

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FACTA makes clear that debt collection

is a permissible purpose for obtaining a credit report

under § 1681b(a)(3)(A) only in connection with a “credit

transaction” in which a consumer has participated directly and

voluntarily. Because PCA obtained a credit report on Pintos

unrelated to any such transaction, we reverse the district court

with respect to Pintos’s claims against PCA and remand for

further proceedings with respect to damages and to Experian’s

liability.

This confuses me a little bit, and I guess I'd have to look at the case documents to find out, but...

Did they prove the debt is hers? Does this apply if the debt is valid? Someone might "participate directly and voluntarily" in a credit transaction with an OC, but not with a CA. Is this ruling saying that since she did not participate in a credit transaction with the CA, even if she did with the OC, it's not permisslble for the CA to pull credit under any circumstances?

Intriguing, and potentially a big win for consumers who have pesky CAs doing frequent hard pulls.

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The take-away from Pintos is that a CA can't pull your credit, IF there is no "underlying credit transaction" involved. They still can for credit card collections, etc...

Methuss claims this applies to reporting of items (such as bad checks) that are not the result of the underlying credit transaction...and I'm debating whether or not I'm willing to become case law on the subject.

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The take-away from Pintos is that a CA can't pull your credit, IF there is no "underlying credit transaction" involved. They still can for credit card collections, etc...

Methuss claims this applies to reporting of items (such as bad checks) that are not the result of the underlying credit transaction...and I'm debating whether or not I'm willing to become case law on the subject.

What do you guys think about a "waiver" of a credit pulls? I know that a waiver can exist in law if someone does not do or charge something for a long period of time. For instance, a CA did a hard pull on my DH's report after a credit account being closed by creditor for over 4 years. When do they lose the right for a pull?

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What do you guys think about a "waiver" of a credit pulls? I know that a waiver can exist in law if someone does not do or charge something for a long period of time. For instance, a CA did a hard pull on my DH's report after a credit account being closed by creditor for over 4 years. When do they lose the right for a pull?

I would think they'd lose the right to pull credit at the same time they'd lose the right to collect, which would be when the SOL expires.

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