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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Credit reporting agency FCRA suit may go forward

Courts Credit Reporting Agency FCRA Class Action Class Certification CRA Disclosures Credit Report

Courts

On March 9, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied the motion to dismiss and motion to strike a claim of a credit reporting agency (CRA) and its subsidiary (defendants) in a putative class action that alleged the defendants: (i) knowingly used inaccurate eviction information in their tenant screening reports, and (ii) inaccurately represented that they obtained eviction information from public sources, each in violation of the FCRA. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the CRA failed to disclose that the eviction information was maintained and sold through the subsidiary, and when the plaintiff requested her credit report from the CRA, the CRA omitted information maintained by the subsidiary and therefore the credit report did not contain “all information in the consumer’s file at the time of the request” as required by the FCRA. She argued that the FCRA prohibits the CRA defendant from skirting the requirement of full and accurate disclosure of consumer information by assigning that duty to a third party—in this case, the subsidiary defendant.

According to its memorandum, the court rejected the CRA’s argument that it could not be held liable for faulty reports issued by its subsidiary. The court answered the question of whether plaintiff “sufficiently alleged that defendant evaded its obligation to make full and accurate disclosure of plaintiff's consumer file. . .through the use of corporate organization, reorganization, structure or restructuring,” concluding that she did so. The court dismissed the defendants’ motion to strike without prejudice, indicating the defendants can raise their argument again in an opposition to class certification.
 

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