$24 Million Credit Reporting Settlement Granted Preliminary Approval
On January 27, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted preliminary approval to a $24 million settlement resolving consumer class action claims against Experian, one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies, arising out of Experian’s reporting of delinquent loan accounts. The case was led by Stueve Siegel Hanson partners Norman Siegel and Austin Moore, who were appointed as class counsel in the litigation.
The proposed settlement is one of the largest in history relating to inaccurate reporting violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It was achieved after nearly four years of hard-fought litigation that included significant discovery, extensive motion practice, a successful appeal reversing a judgment in Experian’s favor, and an order granting class certification.
In granting preliminary approval, the court acknowledged the parties’ “extensive litigation efforts” over a multi-year period and concluded that the relevant factors support a finding that the proposed settlement is “overall fair, reasonable, and appropriate.”
The class includes more than 56,000 individuals who had a delinquent loan account from Delbert Services, a debt collector for online lender Western Sky Financial, remain on their credit reports even after Delbert went out of business and instructed Experian to stop reporting its data. Under the terms of the settlement, every class member will automatically receive a check for at least $270 without having to submit a claim or take any other affirmative action under the settlement.
Notice of the settlement will issue to class members in the first quarter of the year with a final approval hearing set for May 18, 2020.