Rife With Innuendo, Misstatement and Slander: Millstone

Maximum Possible Accuracy
David A. Szwak

Rife With Innuendo, Misstatement and Slander: Millstone

Postby David A. Szwak » Tue Nov 01, 2005 6:41 pm

Millstone v. O'Hanlon Reports, Inc., [1976, 8th Cir.] [Mo.] 528 F.2d 829,

The court held that where an agent for a consumer credit reporting agency had based his report solely on the false allegations of one biased informant and falsely claimed that the report was based upon interviews with four people, the agency was liable for willful noncompliance with the reasonable procedure requirement of 1681e[b]. The report contained, among other falsehoods, allegations that a poll of four neighbors at an auto insurance applicant's former address indicated that they all disliked him, considered him to be a "hippie" type, and strongly suspected that he was a drug user. The court, noting that the agent had spent, at most, 30 minutes in preparing the report, said that it was rife with innuendo, misstatement, and slander. Despite an agency requirement that there must be verification of information given by any one informant, the agent did not verify the information received from the one informant, and a 3-day recheck of the original investigation showed that every reported allegation was false. The court said that it was amazed that the agency claimed that its agent followed reasonable procedures promulgated by it to attain maximum possible accuracy, because everything in the record was to the contrary. The court said that there was no doubt that the agency had willfully violated the spirit and letter of the FCRA, by trampling recklessly upon the applicant's rights thereunder.

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