Mixed Files: Verdin v. Equifax

Father-Son, Mother-Daughter, Junior-Senior-Trey [Generational Designators], Common Names, Variations on Social Security Numbers and Other Mixed File Issues
David A. Szwak

Mixed Files: Verdin v. Equifax

Postby David A. Szwak » Tue Nov 01, 2005 7:11 pm

Verdin v. Equifax Services, Inc.,1992 Westlaw 111223 [U.S.D.C. E.D. La. 1992]

Verdin alleged that he applied for an automobile loan and was apparently basing their denial on credit reports furnished by Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge. Between April 26 and May 6, plaintiff Verdin contacted his bank loan officer, who had a copy of Verdin's credit report faxed to him from Credit Bureau of Terrebonne. Verdin determined that some information that was not his had been mistakenly included in his credit report. Rather than contacting Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge or C.B.I. directly, Verdin first contacted one of the disputed creditors to complain that information regarding his aunt and uncle, Diane and Schmelling Verdin, was mistakenly included in his credit report. Thereafter, Verdin obtained a copy of his credit report from Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge. The report contained information on six accounts of his father, Stephen Verdin Sr., and three accounts of his aunt and uncle. None of these nine accounts contained any negative information or bad credit ratings. However, eight of Verdin's own accounts contained negative entries ranging from delinquent payments to a redeemed repossession. The court [erroneously] found “[H]is complaint is not one that can be fairly construed as seeking damages for a credit rating that is too favorable, and the undisputed facts demonstrate that such was the only result of the errors in his credit report.” The court held that “even absent a showing of actual damages, punitive damages are recoverable for willful violations of the Act. 1681[n]; Russell v. Shelter Financial Servs., 604 F.Supp. 201, 203 [W.D.Mo.1984]. Thus, if a jury were to conclude that C.B.I. willfully undertook to improve Mr. Verdin's credit rating by distorting the data in his credit report, such behavior could conceivably warrant the imposition of punitive damages, even without a finding of malice.”

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