Court Cases

Shaw v. Experian - 9th Circuit Oral Argument

Here is a link to our recent oral argument in the Shaw v. Experian class action:

Shaw Oral Argument

The Shaw case concerns the accuracy of Experian's reporting of short sales. Following the great recession, there was a dramatic increase in short sales. To help consumers, the nation’s largest mortgage underwriters created a new, 2- year waiting period for consumers who want to re-enter the conventional mortgage market after completing a short sale. This rule contrasts sharply with the 7-year waiting period applicable to foreclosures and makes it imperative that consumer reports identify short sales with maximum possible accuracy. Experian’s consumer reports fail that standard because they can, at best, only imply a possible short sale while simultaneously implying other events, including a possible foreclosure.

While Experian now insists it accurately and precisely reports short sales, that is not what it told Fannie Mae in May 2010. At that time, when Fannie Mae asked how it could identify short sales in Experian’s data, Experian admitted:

There are no specific codes that will specifically identify a Short Sale condition. The data reporting guidelines instruct the client to report the account as Settled-Special Comment AU. So the presence of this comment on a Mortgage loan ‘could’ imply short sale.

This single piece of evidence undermines Experian’s current contention that any particular set of codes can be relied on to identify short sales with the precision and certainty demanded by the mortgage industry. Experian expressly told Fannie Mae that is not true. And, the record shows the reason it is not true is because Experian requires furnishers to report short sales using the exact same codes they use to report other events that are not short sales. Accordingly, Experian’s data is inherently vague, imprecise and uncertain.

Experian materially compounds this uncertainty by displaying an ambiguous, catchall code 9 in the payment history grid of its consumer reports. The code 9 is not reported by furnishers and can infer numerous derogatory events, including a potential foreclosure. Experian’s reports therefore portray inconsistent and conflicting information that caused the rejection of new mortgage applications for scores of consumers, including Plaintiffs. Experian’s reports are inaccurate because they are so imprecise, incomplete, misleading and unreliable they are not only expected to, but did in fact, adversely affect credit decisions.

Experian Sued for Mixing the Credit Files of People Who Share the Same Name

Experian Sued for Mixing the Credit Files of People Who Share the Same Name

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Experian in the United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, for merging the credit file of one individual with the credit file of another who share the same first and last name.

While applying for a mortgage, the plaintiff in the above mentioned case discovered that Experian had included no less than twenty-three (23) tradelines (bits of credit information) which did not belong to her on the credit report used to determine her credit worthiness. After being denied the loan, the plaintiff obtained her credit file from Experian. She then contacted an Experian representative by phone to dispute the inaccurate tradelines. The Experian representative confirmed that the tradelines in question belonged to another consumer and promised to have them removed from her credit file.

However, the information contained within the credit reports which Experian provided to the loan officer, is different than the information contained within the consumer report the plaintiff received when she requested her credit report from Experian. This is not uncommon. Rather it’s standard procedure.

Identity Theft Leads to Federal Lawsuit Against Citibank & Experian

Identity Theft Leads to Federal Lawsuit Against Citibank & Experian

The dispute process is critical to ensuring the accuracy of credit reporting, and to protecting the rights of the millions of consumers whose livelihoods, housing, insurance and access to credit depend on accurate reporting. 

Identity theft has led to a federal lawsuit being filed against Citibank North America, Inc. (Citibank) and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. (Experian). Both Citibank and Experian are being sued for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because they reported fraudulent information (among other things) after it was disputed.

The case involves the plaintiff’s identity being stolen by a relative. The thief used plaintiffs identity to open two credit card accounts with Citibank.

Equifax is being sued for mixing the credit file of one man with the credit file of the man's father.

Equifax is being sued for mixing the credit file of one man with the credit file of the man's father.

Equifax is being sued for violated in Fair Credit Reporting Act

Earlier this year, Cento Law filed a complaint against Equifax for mixing the credit report of the plaintiff with information belonging to the plaintiff's father.

The plaintiff was first alerted to the mixed credit file when he was eighteen years old. At the time he was living at his parents and working. The alert came when he received a letter that was attached to his paycheck. The letter was from a county auditors office and its purpose was to inform the plaintiff that his wages were going to be garnished due to unpaid property taxes. Eventually the plaintiff learned that the property taxes in question were actually taxes levied against a man that he shared the same name with, his father.

As time went by, plaintiff was able to obtain a loan for a vehicle. He paid his loan on time with the hope of creating good credit. Two years later...

Recent Cases Addressing Reseller Liability

Resellers are consumer reporting agencies who purchase consumer credit information from Trans Union, Equifax and Experian and then resell that information. Often resellers combine all three credit files into one report - commonly known as a “tri-merge” credit report. Recent court opinions have addressed whether these resellers are liable under Section 1681e(b) if one agency reports inaccurate information but the other two do not and the reseller subsequently reports all three files.

Former Business Owner Brings Lawsuit Against First Data Global Leasing for Inaccurate Credit Reporting

Cento Lane has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a former business owner who used First Data Global Leasing merchant services. The lawsuit alleges violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act against First Data. The lawsuit alleges that even though the former business owner never signed a personal guaranty for First Data's services, First Data reported the account to Trans Union, Equifax and Experian

Court Certifies Class Action Against Equifax

Plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against Equifax in Virginia has successfully obtained class certification of her claims. The lawsuit alleges that Equifax misreported the status of certain state court judgments. The certified class consists of consumers who told Equifax of a disposed state court judgment before Equifax published an inaccurate report between February 2008 and February 2013.

Experian Ordered to Produce Consumer Disclosures in Native Format

On July 2, 2013, a Indiana consumer filed suit in federal court against Experian and Green Tree Servicing, LLC for neglect and willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The case is currently in the discovery stage. During the discovery stage, each side is allowed to conduct depositions, request relevant documents, ask interrogatories, and/or serve admissions. In this case, as the discovery was unraveling, Plaintiff requested specific documents from Experian their native format. Experian objected and drove Plaintiff to file a Motion to Compel with the Court.

$18. 6 Million Verdict Against Equifax for Not Fixing a Mixed Credit Report

Equifax Slammed with $18.6 Million Jury Verdict for Violations of the FCRA

A federal jury recently awarded Julie Miller of Oregon with $18.6 Million.

In 2009, Julie Miller applied for credit and was denied. The denial was a result of credit information belonging to a different Julie Miller being mixed with the credit report of the applicant. The inaccuracies consisted of:

  • Wrong Social Security Number
  • Wrong birth date
  • Accounts that were not hers; and
  • Erroneous collection accounts.

The mixed credit report resulted in a lost opportunity to obtain credit.

Challenging the Accuracy of Bankruptcy Credit Reporting | Indiana Consumer Files Lawsuit Against Experian and Green Tree | Bankruptcy Reaffirmations and Ride Throughs

Cento Law, LLC attorney G. John Cento filed a lawsuit against Experian Information Solutions, Inc. and Green Tree Servicing, LLC alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges Experian and Green Tree inaccurately reported his mortgage account which had been included in bankruptcy but which survived the bankruptcy as a “ride through.”

Class Action Against Green Tree Challenging Accuracy of Joint Account Holder Bankruptcy Credit Reporting

Lawsuit Filed Against Green Tree for Reporting a False Bankruptcy

June 7, 2013

Today, Cento Law, LLC attorney G. John Cento filed a class action lawsuit against Green Tree Servicing, LLC alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges Green Tree inaccurately reported his mortgage account to the consumer reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and/or Trans Union) that he had included his mortgage in bankruptcy even though Plaintiff had never filed bankruptcy.

Class Action Against Experian, Wells Fargo and Citimortgage Challenging Accuracy of Reporting of Consumer Short Sales

Cento Law, LLC attorney G. John Cento, through local California counsel, filed a class action lawsuit against Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank and Citimortgage alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges the consumer reporting agency, Experian, and credit data furnishers, Wells Fargo and Citimortgage, inaccurately reported his short sale on his credit report

Employer Agrees to $3M Employment Background Screening Class Action Settlement

K-Mart, in Pitt v. K-Mart Corp., Case No. 11-cv-00697, has reached a $3 million settlement in a class action lawsuit pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The class consisted of more than 64,000 job applicants who sued K-Mart for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “FCRA”).  Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged they lost out on jobs without having a chance to challenge negative information reported to their prospective employers in background checks and that K-Mart failed to notify the job applicants they were rejected for employment because of the background checks.

Class Action Suit Against Experian & CSC

Indiana Consumer Files Class Action Suit Against Experian and CSC | Challenging the Accuracy of Bankruptcy Credit Reporting 

Today, Cento Law, along with Eric Pavlack, filed a class action lawsuit against two consumer reporting agencies, Experian Information Services, Inc. and CSC Credit Services alleging numerous violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In the suit, Plaintiff alleges the consumer reporting agencies inaccurately reported her bankruptcy on her credit report as dismissed when it was in fact withdrawn and failed to report that her bankruptcy was withdrawn before any bankruptcy plan was approved.  Earlier this year, Plaintiff filed a similar lawsuit against Trans Union, LLC.

If you have any questions regarding this lawsuit, then please feel free to contact us.

Supreme Court Ruling Prompts the FTC, the Department of Justice, and the CFPB to Intervene

In May 2012, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intervened and filed a memorandum in support of the constitutionality of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The issue arose in Shamara King v. General Information Services, Inc. when the defendant, General Information Services (GIS), moved to dismiss the case; claiming that the FCRA was unconstitutional based upon the recent Supreme Court ruling in Sorrell v. IMS Health, Inc., 131 S. Ct. 2653 (2011). As the dissent in Sorrell noted, the ruling would potentially open a Pandora’s Box of First Amendment challenges pertaining to the disclosure of public information. The issue of disclosing public information is the very issue at the heart of a class action lawsuit which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the credit reporting agency, GIS. 

May a consumer claim defamation against a furnisher of inaccurate credit information?

The following is a summary of a recent federal court ruling addressing this question:

In Longman v. Wachovia Bank, the Connecticut District Court held that the consumer's state law defamation claim was preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the "FCRA").  The consumer had alleged Wachovia defamed him by falsely reporting information to the consumer reporting agencies (the "CRAs") related to a three-year balloon lot note which he had obtained to finance a land purchase from Wachovia.  The Court found, among other things, that Section 1681t(B)(1)(F) of the FCRA expressly preempts the application of state law regarding any matters regulated by Section 1681s-2.  The Court reasoned that because the consumer alleged Wachovia reported this false information to the agencies, he was necessarily asserting a violation of Section 1681s-2, the Section of the FCRA which in part governs the reporting of information to the CRAs.

Therefore, according to this Connecticut District Court a consumer may not claim state law defamation against a furnisher of inaccurate credit information since that claim would be preempted by the FCRA.

HOWEVER, all is not lost. To sue a furnisher for reporting inaccurate information on your credit report, you simply need to dispute that information through the credit reporting agencies.  And then, if the inaccurate information is not corrected, you may file suit under the FCRA. 

Second Circuit Holds FCRA Preempts State Tort Claims

Macpherson v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, NA

Consumer alleged that Chase provided false information about his finances to Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency. Chase removed the case to federal court and moved for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 12(b)(6), on the grounds that the consumer's claims were preempted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681t(b)(1)(F). Consumer appealed from the district court's dismissal of his state common law tort claims. The Second Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court and held that the FCRA preempted consumer's state law claims against Chase.

Macpherson v. JPMorgan Chase

Connecticut Complaint Against Trans Union For Mixing Credit Files

On August 1, 2011, Ralph C. Neclerio, Jr., a resident of Connecticut, filed suit against Trans Union, LLC alleging that Trans Union has been mixing Neclerio's credit file with his father's credit file since at least 1999.  Neclerio is represented by attorney Ian Lyngklip. In particular, Neclerio's Complaint alleges that:

  • This case arises as a result of the continued refusal of Trans Union to resolve the persistent appearance of credit data concerning Mr. Neclerio’s father – also named Ralph Neclerio – on Mr. Neclerio’s consumer reports.