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Can a Plaintiff pull your credit after a lawsuit has commenced?


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I am a Defendant in a lawsuit with a large bank. The lawsuit is approximately two years old. There have been no discovery requests or subpoenas issued by either side to date. I learned today when reviewing my credit report, that the Plaintiff pulled my credit report last month. Is this allowed? If not, what laws or statutes have been broken?

I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Edited by Determined2
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FCRA 1681B Permissible purposes of consumer reports (a)(3)(A):

intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer;

Stinks, but I don't think you can get a violation out of this.

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In Slantis v. Capozzi the reasons the defendant offered for obtaining the credit report were "first, to determine whether a counterclaim in a suit between plaintiff and defendant's client "would be financially worth raising" (Doc. 49, at 5), and second, "because of a concern about the responsibility [that plaintiff's employer had] with regard to [p]laintiff's consent order with the Department of Nursing" " The court properly found that neither of these were permissible purpose for obtaining a CR. I don't see how this could be applied to a credit card case, though.

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Here is what the article states:Facts: Plaintiff claimed that a credit check performed by Defendant was not performed for a permissible purpose in violation of the FCRA. Defendant counter-claimed against Plaintiff claiming the credit check was permissible and Plaintiff brought her claim in bad faith and for the purposes of harassment. The Court found that obtaining a consumer report in preparation for litigation is not a legitimate business need pursuant to § 1681b(a)(3)(F)(i). Because Defendant did not perform any research on what would constitute a permissible purpose for conducting the credit check and did not obtain the permission of Plaintiff to obtain her consumer report, the Court found that summary judgment was proper for Plaintiff and that Defendant violated the FCRA. The Court further held that Defendant’s counterclaim failed because Plaintiff’s claim had merit.

Here's a different case but has to do with settlement:Dear Mr. Greenblatt:

This is in response to your letter requesting the staff's opinion concerning the application of certain provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") to the following scenario:

Brokerage clients suffer substantial losses on a financial product sold to them by their brokerage firm. A large number of investors obtain legal counsel and notify their brokerage firm of their losses. An early dispute resolution conference is scheduled with each brokerage client. Prior to the meetings, and with civil litigation seeming imminent, the legal department at the brokerage firm obtains the consumer credit report of every complainant. Some complainants do not have any debt, negative balance or outstanding margin balance in their accounts. The primary purpose for obtaining the credit report is to identify the financial status of each complainant prior to settlement negotiations. Settlement offers are prepared, at least to some extent, based upon the content of the consumer credit reports.

Specifically, you have asked three questions that we will address here. Those questions are quoted verbatim in italics below, followed by the staff's analysis.

1. Whether the requests for the consumer credit reports comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, §604, 15 U.S.C. §1681b?

No. Neither the dispute resolution conference, the imminent threat of civil litigation, nor the desire to craft a settlement offer provide the brokerage firm with a permissible purpose to obtain a brokerage client's consumer report under Section 604.

If the brokerage firm misrepresents to a consumer reporting agency that it is requesting consumer reports pursuant to Section 604(a)(3)(F), however, and instead uses the reports in connection with the settlement discussions you describe, the firm is in violation of the FCRA. Article can be found here: FCRA Staff Opinion: Cosgrove-Greenblatt

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Thanks for the feedback. However, I think you may have missed a key issue in my question. My credit was not pulled in preparation for a lawsuit, but rather after the lawsuit commenced. The lawsuit is now approximately two years old. There have been no discovery requests or subpoenas issued by either side to date. Does anyone have an opinion or legal reference where credit was pulled after the lawsuit began?

Edited by Determined2
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Hi Determined,

Since the lawsuit is still ongoing could it be jdb crafting a settlement? or possibly to litigate another lawsuit? Since jdb's are in the habit of buying debt. One of the posters here had 2 litigations by the same jdb and another poster had 4 litigations by the same I believe OC. Could this be the case with you? Will keep researching or hopefully someone here can shed more light.

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My understanding and from what I've read is that it's permissible pre-suit and not permissible post suit.

How can they argue they are determining a collection strategy after they sued you. They have already moved forward with suit and made their decision. The only reason from that point forward is to gain an unfair advantage by getting personal information from you.

They call that discovery, not pulling your credit. I'd also argue, assuming your pro se, that it is an attempt to intimidate and harass pro se council in an unfair manner. Of course harassing and intimidation are part of the lawsuit phase, but an unfair attempt.

You don't get the luxury of their financial information not related to the case so neither should they. What's the permissible purpose? To see if we need to spend more money to move this case forward? Wrong, you already filed suit and that decision should have been or already has been made. You don't get the luxury of continuing to look over my financials. If you win against me then you can start digging deeper into my personal finances.

I'd sue them or do some kind of show cause hearing and assuming they can't show cause, which I don't bet they can't, asking the court to dismiss, with prejudice, their claim as the sanction.

You peek, you pay, got that one a long time from Flying.

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I have the same line of thinking on this. I think its a violation of the rules of Discovery and probably a violation of the FCRA (if its not a permissible pre-suit, it cant be permissible post the filing of the suit, unless its post judgment and they are looking for assets.) I think they really screwed up here, trying to decide how to use this. Great feedback.

Edited by Determined2
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You may want to make a motion for sanction, or if you're feeling ambitious, file an FCRA suit in Federal...

One good thing that can come out of this is the possibility that they dismiss and move their case to Federal as a counterclaim to your FCRA suit - and 1 simple MTD per Rule 12(B)(6) should put a stop to it...

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I'd say show cause why sanctions should not be imposed and those sanctions being dismissed with prejudice. I don't see how a violation of the FCRA would mean you would win summary judgement. Almost like a creditor still going after the underlying debt even if there is an FDCPA violation.

I could see, if it was determined to be a violation of discovery, the case being dismissed, or the best case for them whatever info gained not being able to be used (suppressed) and then go after them for an FCRA violation. Since they probably got nothing out of the pull, that would not really do much for you.

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after two years with nothing being done by either side? most jurisdiction require discovery and interogs be done with no more than 180 days, my state requires 60 days.

I would file a motion for dismissal based on the lack of activity of the plaintiff.

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I've posted about this case in other threads, but I learned about the credit pull issue just today and thought it should have its own thread. The case had no activity for 15 months. In Florida, as a technical matter, you can Motion for Dismissal for Lack of Prosecution after 10 months. However, I learned as a practical matter all the other side has to do is ask the Judge for 30 additional days to proceed again with their complaint, and its almost universally given. I wasn't aware per BTO's post that some states have separate rules on how and when discovery must begin, does anyone have experience on this issue in Florida?

I think I may file a Counterclaim, and imagine I have them on a $1000 violation per pull of my credit. However, if they have violated discovery rules along with FCRA, after not prosecuting this case for 15 months, the Judge may throw the case out of Court. The Judge was great at my last hearing, tough on both sides, fair to both sides, and doesn't have the patience for nonsense. I don't think he is going to be too happy with this new issue on top of all of their poor legal work on this case to date. Thrilled to find some case law on this, if anyone locates it, please by all means post to the thread. Thanks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi - can anyone point me in the right direction regarding case references that show pulling someone's credit is considered collection activity? I'm having a hard time finding a specific case reference. Thanks again for all those who offer advice, input and info. Your help is greatly appreciated!

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I am so confused. I am in a pickle on this one because they pulled my credit after filing suit and before filing suit. There is nothing on my CR stating anything is disputed.

Don't let this be confusing. Use this against them, and make sure you bring a proof of the credit pull and show it to the Judge. They've handed us both ammo and a significant violation of federal law to raise in a counterclaim. What I'm wondering, and would be thrilled if anyone can suggest if this is possible. is how to use this FCRA violation to get these cases dismissed...

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Don't let this be confusing. Use this against them, and make sure you bring a proof of the credit pull and show it to the Judge. They've handed us both ammo and a significant violation of federal law to raise in a counterclaim. What I'm wondering, and would be thrilled if anyone can suggest if this is possible. is how to use this FCRA violation to get these cases dismissed...

Would the court be able to use the credit report against me?

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  • 2 weeks later...
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