Page 1 of 1

CDV Use Reasonable in All Cases? Analysis

Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:57 pm
by David A. Szwak
Pace v. Experian Information Solutions Inc.
Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2004 WL 1057795

In the Fifth Circuit, a plaintiff seeking punitive damages under the FCRA must prove a willful violation of the FCRA. Cousin, 246 F.3d at 372. A credit reporting agency willfully violates the FCRA only when it knowingly and intentionally commits an act in conscious disregard for the rights of others. Id. The plaintiff's chief complaint is that the CDV procedure employed by Experian is insufficient to address the situation in which a third party fraudulently opens accounts in the name of another. However, some courts have noted that "the CDV procedure alone is accepted by courts as an adequate method both for assuring accuracy and for reinvestigation," Lee v. Experian Info. Solutions, 2003 WL 22287351 (N.D.Ill. Oct.2, 2003), even in a fraud case. Quinn v. Experian Info. Solutions, 2004 WL 609357 (N.D.Ill. March 24, 2004). Although this court views the questions of reasonable preparation and reinvestigation procedures as factual disputes, given the holdings of some other district courts, it can hardly be said that Experian's use of the CDV procedure exhibits a conscious disregard for the rights of consumers. Even viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the court cannot say on this record that the defendant knowingly and intentionally committed an act in conscious disregard for the rights of others. Under the standards set forth in Cousin, the plaintiff's claim for punitive damages fails. The court therefore grants the motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff's claim for punitive damages.