Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Troutman Sanders’ Financial Services Litigation practice has extensive experience litigating cases under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). We have served as counsel to consumer reporting agencies in more than 1,500 cases nationwide, including precedent-setting matters. We have handled FCRA litigation on an individual, class action and mass action basis at the trial and appellate levels.

Troutman Sanders is called upon by users, furnishers and consumer reporting agencies to assist in FCRA litigation pertaining to the full spectrum of FCRA-regulated activities, including credit reporting, consumer credit, and insurance transactions. Troutman Sanders also has assisted clients who do not consider themselves to be acting as consumer reporting agencies, but against whom FCRA claims have been asserted. Troutman Sanders has defended actions under all of the substantive provisions of the FCRA, including those related to matching procedures, permissible purposes for accessing information, obsolete information, consumer disclosures, forms of notice to consumers, consumer disputes, and reinvestigations. Additionally, Troutman Sanders has a strong tradition in FCRA compliance counseling, including FCRA audits. We utilize this compliance expertise to strengthen our clients’ regulatory positions, both before and after litigation.

Troutman Sanders also has extensive experience with the FCRA provisions governing employment background screening. The background screening process is a critical component of modern-day hiring, with employers exposed to potential liability both for failing to conduct background screenings and for the background screening process itself. Increased regulatory attention in this area, as well as an active and changing litigation environment, have made maintaining compliance with the FCRA and related state background screening laws a difficult task. Troutman Sanders has handled lawsuits and compliance reviews under every provision of the FCRA addressing the background screening process.

In the context of FCRA class actions, Troutman Sanders has substantial experience in dealing with the class-related issues under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules, such as class certification motions, numerosity, the existence and predominance of common questions of law and fact, typicality, adequacy and superiority, as well as in the administration of class settlements.

Our attorneys provide ongoing analysis and commentary on developments in the consumer financial services industry on the Consumer Financial Services Law Monitor located at www.cfslawmonitor.com.

Class Actions

  • Defended national data management company in national class action under the FCRA involving employee background checks related to the mailing of preliminary adverse action notices and taking of final adverse action against job applicants with potential class exposure of billions of dollars.
  • Represented publicly-traded marketing company in novel class action claim alleging that the company had transformed itself into a consumer reporting agency through the sale of public-record information.
  • Defended government contractor specializing in background investigations for nationwide class action claim asserted under § 1681k(a)(1) of the FCRA. The case was voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff's counsel after discovery with no settlement.
  • Represented a national credit reporting agency in a class action and obtained a decision by the Firth Circuit to reverse class certification involving approximately 10 million consumers. Upon remand to the district court, we obtained summary judgment with respect to one of the plaintiffs and the other five plaintiffs thereafter dismissed their claims.
  • Represented a national credit reporting agency in a putative class action involving alleged violations of the FCRA with respect to the issuance of credit reports for insurance purposes. Class certification was granted to only 125 consumers and was thereafter favorably settled prior to trial.
  • Represented a national credit reporting agency in claims against a mortgage broker which alleged that a subsidiary of the client misappropriate trade secrets belonging to it and other mortgage brokers. We obtained a motion to dismiss class certification and the decision was affirmed by the Second Circuit.
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Individual Actions

  • Counsel for national consumer reporting agency in over 300 individual cases challenging all aspects of credit reporting, including procedures, accuracy of information reported, notice requirements, and dispute reinvestigation.
  • Defended major financial institution facing multiple FCRA and state law defamation and negligence lawsuits related to furnishing information to credit reporting agencies.
  • Represented and successfully resolved claim against a national debt collection agency in claim asserting violations of the FCRA and RICO relating to the filing of collection lawsuits and reporting of consumer debts, with the plaintiff seeking disgorgement of tens of millions of dollars in corporate profits.
  • Represented a consumer reporting agency against allegations that it violated sections 1681k and 1681c of the FCRA when it provided certain adverse information to potential employers that was more than seven years old. The case was settled.
  • Represented a consumer reporting agency against allegations that it violated sections of the FCRA when it provided an allegedly inaccurate consumer report on the plaintiff to her prospective employer and failed to provide notice of the issuance of the report to the plaintiff. The case was settled.

Compliance Reviews

  • Reviewed national marketing company’s databases and systems for evaluation of whether the company was at risk of being labeled a “consumer reporting agency” and advised the company with ways to avoid such a conclusion.
  • Reviewed disclosure forms for multiple national background screening companies to ensure compliance and advised these companies on the timing of the disclosures.
  • Revised disclosure and adverse action processes for national trucking company to ensure compliance with the FCRA’s requirements pertaining to employment background checks.
  • Conducted “ban the box” 50-state surveys for national banks and other corporate entities in order to advise on employment background screening and hiring practices.