District Court gives preliminary approval to $11.5 million FCRA settlement
On January 6, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted preliminary approval of a $11.5 million settlement in a class action FCRA suit, resolving allegations that a credit reporting agency (CRA) reported inaccurate or incomplete criminal and civil records. According to the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement and memorandum in support, the defendant violated the FCRA by attributing criminal records to consumers that did not belong to them. The plaintiffs further alleged that “misattribution resulted from [the defendant’s] unreasonable procedures related to its using or failure to use certain identifying information in its matching algorithm.” In addition, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant failed to report favorable dispositions in landlord-tenant records. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendant “did not obtain complete and up-to-date public records from the source, instead relying on old or incomplete data obtained from its vendor(s) or retrieved through automated processes.” If final approval of the settlement is granted, attorney fees will account for about a third of the $11.5 million settlement amount. The estimated number of people who could benefit from the settlement is approximately 90,000, with awards for this group ranging from $40 to $800. The defendant will also be obliged under the settlement to provide data needed to identify members of the class. Further, class members whose names were misreported as tied to felonies or sex offenses, or who disputed their criminal records, will be paid higher payments than those linked to misdemeanors, lower-level offenses, or eviction records.