Class Certification Win in Experian FCRA Lawsuit
On October 1, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted class certification to a class of potentially more than 100,000 consumers who had delinquent loan accounts improperly remain on their credit reports in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
In certifying the class, the Court agreed with plaintiff’s position that every significant issue in this case pertained to uniform conduct by Experian, including whether plaintiff’s credit report was inaccurate under the FCRA, whether Experian failed to use reasonable procedures, and whether Experian’s conduct was “willful” – entitling plaintiff and the class to statutory and punitive damages.
The Court also concluded that the named plaintiff had Article III standing to sue under the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo and otherwise met the requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and 23(b)(3).
The decision comes following Stueve Siegel Hanson’s May 2019 victory in the Ninth Circuit where a three-judge panel reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Experian’s favor.
As part of its order, the Court appointed attorneys Norman Siegel and Austin Moore of Stueve Siegel Hanson as Class Counsel pursuant to Rule 23(g), recognizing that they are “amply qualified” to lead the Class. The Court noted that “the most compelling evidence of the qualifications and dedication of proposed class counsel is their work in this case. Considering how far this action has come despite a grant of summary judgment in Defendant’s favor and a reversal on appeal, proposed class counsel have made a strong showing of their commitment to helping the class vigorously prosecute this case.”
The underlying case Demeta Reyes v. Experian asserts that Experian, one of the “big three” credit reporting agencies, violated the FCRA by failing to ensure the “maximum possible accuracy” of consumers’ credit reports when it reported more than 125,000 delinquent loan accounts from debt collection company Delbert Service for more than a year after Delbert went out of business and instructed Experian to stop reporting its data. Experian failed to delete the accounts even after Experian employees were put on notice numerous times over a 15-month period that the accounts were improperly reporting in violation of Experian’s own policies. Ms. Reyes is representing a class of similarly-situated individuals who had delinquent accounts on their credit reports after Delbert went out of business in January 2015.
The case will now proceed to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.