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.
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.
Angela Williams filed a lawsuit against Equifax alleging that her Equifax credit report included more than two dozen negative accounts which did not belong on her credit report. The negative accounts actually belonged to another consumer named Angelina Williams. In addition to sharing almost identical names, Angela and Angelina also shared another important similarity - their social security numbers were almost identical except that the last two digits were reversed. Angela sent numerous disputes to Equifax trying to correct its reporting over a period of more than a decade. From time to time, Equifax would remove some of the inaccurate accounts from her credit file but those accounts would later appear in other versions of her credit report. Often times, when Angela would request a copy of her credit report, Equifax would return only incomplete credit reports since Equifax's database had created many different credit files for Angela; sometimes those files were put together into one report and sometimes they were not. As a result of this inaccurate reporting, Angela alleged she was repeatedly denied credit. In November 2007, Angela's case made its way to a Florida jury who entered a verdict in her favor and against Equifax for $219,000 in actual damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages.