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. The multimillion dollar verdict was a result of a case filed against Equifax for mixing (or merging) credit information belonging to a different Julie Miller and not fixing the inaccuracies after Julie Miller disputed it. The case alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
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.
For more than two years, Julie Miller disputed the inaccurate information. Despite the numerous attempts Julie Miller made to have her credit report corrected, Equifax did not remove the inaccurate information from her credit report. Julie Miller exercised her rights under the FCRA and sued Equifax. The lawsuit was filed in Federal Court and proceed to a jury trial. The jury awarded Julie Miller $18.6 million. $180,000 was for compensatory damages, and the remaining $18 million was punitive damages.
Recent updates to the FCRA require credit reporting agencies to pay closer attention to accuracy. Federal regulators say that more then one in five credit reports still contain errors. It is estimated that 4 million individuals have the same problem as Julie Miller. If you have inaccurate information on your credit report, and your dispute has been ignored, you may seek legal action under the FCRA.