The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq. permits individuals to bring lawsuits against credit bureaus for reporting false information. Our San Diego based law firm handles FCRA cases across California. If you have inaccurate information on your credit report and cannot clear it up by sending disputes you may be able to file an FCRA claim.
Having your credit report impacted by information that is false or misleading can be extremely frustrating and cost you significant money in trying to obtain the best loan. Thankfully, the FCRA permits an individual to recover money damages if they can prove they were harmed by false credit reporting. The categories of damages include statutory damages, actual damages and punitive damages. 15 USC §§1681n and o.
“Actual damages include damages for personal humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish and emotional distress…It includes all highly unpleasant mental reactions such as fright or grief, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, anger, chagrin, disappointment, worry and nausea.” McCollough v. Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, LLC, 637 F.3d 939, 957 (9th Cir. 2011); see also Cushman v. Trans Union Corp., 115 F.3d 220, 225-27 (3d Cir. 1997) (actual damages may be emotional in nature); and Guimond v. Trans Union, 45 F.3d 1329, 1333 (9th Cir. 1995).
Other categories include loss of credit opportunity. Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, 617 F.3d 688, 719-20 (3d Cir. 2010). Plaintiffs can recover damages for credit defamation. Dalton v. Capital Assoc., 257 F.3d 409, 418-19 (4th Cir. 2001). Economic or financial loss is also recoverable. Guimond v. Trans Union, 45 F.3d 1329, 1333 (9th Cir. 1995).
Recently published cases show that courts are willing to assess damages to fully compensate victims of false credit reporting. In Bach v. First Union Nat'l Bank, 486 F.3d 150 (6th Cir. 2007), the court upheld a jury award of $400,000 for compensatory damages in a case that involved attempts to resolve reporting inaccuracies and repeated denials of credit. In Brim v. Midland Credit Management, 795 F.Supp.2d 1255 (N.D. Ala. 2011) the court upheld awards of
$100,000 in compensatory damages and $623,000 in punitive damages for a case involving wrongful credit reporting by a collection agency. Similarly, in the case of Sloane v. Equifax Information Services, 510 F.3d 495 (4th Cir. 2007) the Fourth Circuit approved an award of emotional distress damages of $150,000 for credit reporting violations.
If you live in California and have been harmed by inaccurate credit reporting please contact our firm to discuss how we can help.