Court Dismisses Majority Of Consumer’s FCRA Claims But Certain Alleged Damages Related to Reasonable Procedures Claim Against One CRA Survive Summary Judgment

By Michael Klazema on 5/9/2012

Facts: Plaintiff asserted claims against Trans Union LLC (“Trans Union”) under § 1681e(b) and § 1681i and against Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (“Experian”) under § 1681e(b) and § 1681g of the FCRA. With respect to Trans Union, Plaintiff claimed that it reported an account on Plaintiff’s credit file that belonged to another person and that because of prior history, Trans Union was aware that the account should not have been reporting on Plaintiff’s credit file. As to Experian, Plaintiff claimed that he was denied credit by Citibank because Experian failed to report enough satisfactory credit references on his Experian consumer report. Further, Plaintiff also claimed that Experian did not provide him with a copy of the consumer report it sent to Citibank. Trans Union and Experian moved for summary judgment on all claims, and Plaintiff also filed motions for summary judgment against the Defendants.

The Court granted summary judgment in favor of Trans Union except on Plaintiff’s § 1681e(b) claim for alleged mental anguish damages, a credit denial, and punitive damages. Experian’s motion for summary judgment was granted in its entirety, and Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment was denied.

Reasonable Procedures

To show negligent noncompliance under § 1681e(b), a plaintiff must show: (1) the existence of an inaccurate credit report; (2) that the CRA failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of its reports; (3) that the plaintiff suffered an injury; and (4) that the CRA’s failure caused the plaintiff’s injury. With respect to Trans Union, the Court concluded that there was some evidence that it failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure that information regarding another specific individual did not appear on Plaintiff’s credit report.

Punitive Damages

Under § 1681n, a plaintiff need not prove actual damages but may recover punitive and statutory damages as well as costs and fees if a defendant willfully violates the FCRA. A “willful violation” is either an intentional violation or a violation committed by an agency in reckless disregard of its duties under the FCRA.

Consumer Report

Pursuant to § 1681g, an individual may request a copy of his or her consumer credit file. However, a CRA is not required to provide a copy of a consumer’s report when one is requested for evaluation by a potential credit grantor. Thus, Plaintiff’s claim against Experian that it did not provide him a copy of the credit report provided to Citibank failed as a matter of law.


About Strasburger & Price

Attorneys from Strasburger & Price, LLP involved in FCRA litigation have been monitoring and analyzing the legislative and caselaw developments related to this area of the law.  This group of lawyers will continue to follow these developments throughout the coming months to help you understand how it impacts your business as well as to help you make the necessary decisions to succeed under this ever changing area of credit reporting and employment screening/criminal and credit background check compliance.


Click here to find out more about our authors.

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 20 Employers who use E-Verify must follow the proper steps and procedures when they receive a “tentative non-confirmation notice” from either the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security. Failure to follow the proper procedures can cost employers both time and money. 
  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.