4.61 Minutes Per Reinvestigation Under Equifax Quota
Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 5:50 pm
Equifax failed to properly reinvestigate plaintiff’s dispute and failed to report accurate information in response, both as contemplated by sections 1681e[b:241ae9461e] and 1681i[a] of the FCRA. Supra. Equifax did nothing to remedy the false reportings and defamed plaintiff and did so willfully and even maliciously. Equifax’s systemic problems and abusive employee “bullpen” conditions force its employees to violate the FCRA. Equifax forces impossible quotas on its file handlers. Id. at ¶55. [b] It is impossible to handle a “reasonable reinvestigation” of a consumer in 4.61 minutes, as a matter of law [even assuming no bathroom and smoking breaks are allowed and assuming each consumer had just one disputed item on file]. Id. Equifax does not generate revenue from handling consumer disputes mandated by the FCRA. [/b:241ae9461e] Accuracy is not a profitable issue at Equifax. Here, Equifax knew the Bank One reporting was false, after plaintiff’s dispute, yet it kept on re-reporting it and harmed plaintiff. That is more than adequate to meet the FCRA standard of willfulness and common law standards of willfulness and malice [reckless disregard]. Bruce v. First USA Bank, 103 F.Supp.2d 1135 [U.S.D.C. E.D. Mo. 2000].
Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 11:20 pm
DiPrinzio v. MBNA America Bank, N.A.
Slip Copy, 2005 WL 2039175
2. "Disputes Per Hour" Quota
Defendant next seeks to preclude evidence referring to the number of disputes per hour processed by MBNA's employee's. It contends that such evidence is wholly irrelevant to this matter. Further, it asserts that it is prejudicial in that any evidence of the disputes per hour processed by MBNA has no bearing on the amount of time taken to process plaintiff's specific disputes. Nonetheless, a jury exposed to information regarding the average processing time could improperly believe that MBNA's investigations of the particular disputes relating to plaintiff were conducted in the same amount of time.
The Court finds defendant's argument to be flawed on two bases. First, the information is directly relevant under 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b)(1), which states that a creditor must conduct a investigation of a consumer's disputes. 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b)(1). Although the Act does not define the level of investigation required, numerous courts have agreed that section 1681s-2(b)(1)'s investigation requirement for furnishers of credit information "is analogous to the requirement imposed upon credit reporting agencies under § 1681i(a) to reinvestigate a consumer's dispute regarding information contained in his credit report." Eyantesh v. G.E. Capital Mtg. Svcs., Inc., Civ. A. No. 02-1188, 2003 WL 22844198, *6 (E.D.Pa. Nov. 25, 2003) (citing Bruce v. First U.S.A. Bank, National Assoc., 103 F.Supp.2d 1135, 1143 (E.D.Miss.2000). Therefore, furnishers of credit are required to conduct a "reasonable investigation." Id. See Johnson v. MBNA Bank, N.A., 357 F.3d 426, 432- 433 (4th Cir.2004) (furnisher of credit information must conduct reasonable investigation of consumer's dispute). To determine reasonableness, courts have applied an analysis weighing "the cost of verifying the accuracy of the information versus the possible harm of reporting inaccurate information." Id. (citing Cushman v. Trans Union Corp., 115 F.3d 220, 225 (3d Cir.1997)). Thus, the number of disputes processed by MBNA per hour goes directly to that analysis by providing a basis for the cost of the investigation to plaintiff. See Cushman, 115 F.3d at 222, 225 (fact that agency paid its clerks $7.50 per hour and expected them to perform ten investigations per hour was relevant in cost-benefit analysis to determine whether particular investigation was reasonable).
*11 To the extent defendant argues that jury will be improperly misled into believing that its average dispute-processing time is representative of the time spent on plaintiff's dispute, its argument disregards well-established a fundamental principle of the Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 406 states as follows:
Evidence of the habit of a person or of the routine practice of an organization, whether corroborated or not and regardless of the presence of eyewitnesses, is relevant to prove that the conduct of the person or organization on a particular occasion was in conformity with the habit or routine practice.
Fed.R.Evid. 406. Pursuant to this rule, evidence that MBNA routinely processed an average of 24 disputes per hour is relevant to prove that MBNA acted in conformity with regards to plaintiff's disputes, processing it in an average time of two and a half minutes. The burden then falls on defendant at trial to prove that it varied from its standard practice with regards to plaintiff's case. Accordingly, the Court denies the motion in limine on this point.