Reseller defined in Consent Order

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Reseller defined in Consent Order

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United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana.


Bernita WASHINGTON on behalf of herself and others similarly situated
v.
CSC CREDIT SERVICES, INC. and EQUIFAX, INC.
Steven LEBLANC and Andrea Leblanc, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated
v.
TRANS UNION CORPORATION



No. 97–0971, 98–2081.


March 10, 1999.





CONSENT ORDER

BERRIGAN, District J.

*1 The Parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order without trial or adjudication of any issue of fact or law. The parties having requested the Court to enter this Consent Order, it is by the Court this Tenth day, of March, 1999, ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that:


1. This Court has jurisdiction of the subject matter herein and of the parties hereto pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331. Trans Union expressly denies that it has committed any violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“FCRA”), and expressly disclaims and denies any wrongdoing whatsoever and states that it has consented to the entry of this Consent Order (“Order”) solely to avoid the inconvenience and expense of protracted litigation.


2. This Order shall not be enforceable by any third parties. Neither this Order nor any provision thereof shall be offered or received in evidence against or on behalf of Trans Union in any action or proceeding of any kind or nature, or otherwise used as evidence or an admission of any fact or acknowledgment of liability of any kind by Trans Union, except as necessary to enforce the terms of this Order.


3. For purposes of this Order, the following definitions shall apply:


a. “FCRA” refers to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C., § 1681 et seq., as amended or as it may hereinafter be amended.



b. The terms “Consumer,” “Consumer Report,” and “Consumer Reporting Agency” have the meanings set forth in 15 U.S.C., § 1681a.



c. “Affiliate” means any Consumer Reporting Agency not wholly owned by Trans Union or other entity to which Trans Union provides, or from which Trans Union receives, database management services, either alone or in conjunction with other services.



d. The term “Class” means all persons whose Consumer Reports were delivered by Trans Union and/or its Affiliate to an insurance company during the period July 16, 1996 through December 29, 1998, as certified by this Court as a class represented by the named Plaintiffs, pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.



e. “Insurance Company Subscriber” means any person or entity who requests and obtains a Consumer Report from Trans Union or its Affiliates and which in the ordinary course of business provides insurance products and services.



f. “Subscriber” means any person or entity who requests and obtains Consumer Reports from Trans Union or its Affiliate, excluding Consumers who seek or obtain disclosure of their Consumer Reports or Files.



g. “Trans Union” means defendant Trans Union Corporation, its successors and assigns, its division and subsidiaries, and its officers and employees.



h. “Permissible Purpose” means those purposes for which a Consumer Reporting Agency may furnish a Consumer Report under the FCRA.



i. “Parties” means Plaintiffs and Trans Union.



j. “Plaintiffs” means plaintiffs Steven LeBlanc and Andrea LeBlanc, individually and on behalf of the Class.



*2 k. “Prescreening” means the process whereby Trans Union and/or its Affiliates, using information bearing on any of the characteristics listed in § 1681(a)(d) of the FCRA with respect to any Consumer, compiles or edits for a customer a lists of Consumers who meet specific credit or insurance criteria and provides this list to the customer or a third party (such as a mailing services or back-processor) on behalf of the customer for use in soliciting those Consumers for the purposes of offering credit or insurance to the Consumers, including without limitation the process by which Consumer Reports are furnished pursuant to § 1681b(c) of the FCRA.



l. “Reseller” means a person or entity which obtains Consumer Reports from Trans Union for resale to third parties.



4. This Order resolves any and all claims by the Plaintiffs and the Class against Trans Union and its Affiliates for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to Trans Union's procedures for obtaining certification from Insurance Company Subscribers under the FCRA; and Plaintiffs and members of the Class hereby release and discharge forever Trans Union from all such claims, but not with respect to their claims for actual statutory or punitive damages.


5. Trans Union, within 180 days of the date of this Order, shall require its Insurance Company Subscribers to individually identify the Permissible Purpose for which a requested Consumer Report is sought along with each request for a Consumer Report (“Individual Certification”), and if Individual Certification does not accompany a request by the Insurance Company Subscriber for a Consumer Report, Trans Union shall not furnish the Consumer Report.


6. In the event that Trans Union provides Consumer Reports to a Reseller or Affiliate for resale to an Insurance Company Subscriber, Trans Union, within 180 days of the date of this Order, shall require the Reseller to obtain from the Insurance Company Subscriber the Individual Certification described in Paragraph 5.


7. Within 180 days of the date of this Order, Trans Union shall, in connection with furnishing a Consumer Report to the Consumer to whom it relates, identify the Permissible Purpose certified by an Insurance Company Subscriber, if any, which sought and obtained from Trans Union the Consumer's Report within two (2) years of the date of a Consumer Report furnished to the Consumer, but only as to those Consumer Reports furnished to Insurance Company Subscribers after 180 days from the date of this Order.


8. The provision of this Order in general, and Paragraphs 5–7 in particular, do not apply to requests for, or the furnishing of, Consumer Reports in connection with Prescreening.


9. If federal legislation is enacted which addresses the type of certification that Trans Union must obtain from Insurance Company Subscribers pursuant to the FCRA, and such legislation requires some procedure other than those required by Paragraphs 5–7 of this Order, then Paragraphs 5–7 of this Order will become null and void upon the effective date of such legislation. If state legislation is enacted which addresses the type of certification that Trans Union must obtain from Insurance Company Subscribers pursuant to the FCRA, and such legislation requires some procedure other than those required by Paragraphs 5–7 of this Order, then the Court may, under the jurisdiction which it retains by the terms of this Order, alter the Order to resolve any inconsistency created by the subsequently enacted state legislation, to the legal and geographic extent of the application of such legislation. If any court or governmental agency having jurisdiction over Trans Union enters an order or opinion which addresses the type of certification that Trans Union must obtain from Insurance Company Subscribers pursuant to FCRA, and such order or opinion requires some procedure other than those required by Paragraphs 5–7 of this Order, then this Court may, under the jurisdiction it retains by the terms of this Order, alter the terms of this Order, to the extent necessary to resolve the inconsistency, between the Order and the order or opinion of the court or governmental agency.


*3 10. All claims for injunctive and declaratory relief by the Plaintiffs and the Class brought in the above-captioned action are hereby dismissed with prejudice. Trans Union shall be barred from seeking declaratory relief with respect to the same issues and to the same extent as plaintiffs are barred from seeking such relief. The individual claims of members of the Class for actual, statutory, and punitive damages under § 1681n and § 1681o of the FCRA, if any, are dismissed without prejudice, except that members of the Class will be barred from bringing these claims against Trans Union as a class action pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or any analogous state procedural rule providing for class action complaints.


11. The Court hereby retains jurisdiction to determine the amount of attorneys' fees to be awarded to Plaintiffs' and Plaintiffs' counsel, and to enforce the terms of this Consent Order.



FINAL CERTIFICATION ORDER, APPROVAL OF SETTLEMENT, AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL

Having considered the memoranda of counsel and their comments at the March 8, 1999 fairness hearing on this matter, the lack of any class members filing objections with the Clerk of Court, the lack of any class members appearing at the subject fairness hearing to voice any opposition to the proposed settlement, and the law; and, for the reasons stated at the March 8, 1999 fairness hearing, having determined that the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable under the six-part inquiry set forth in Reed v. General Motors Corp., 703 F.2d 170 (5th Cir.1983).


IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:


(1) Pursuant to Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a Settlement Class consisting of all persons whose consumer reports were furnished to an insurance company or any person acting on behalf of an insurance company by Trans Union Corporation or any of its affiliates, by computer access, from July 16, 1996 through December 29, 1998 is hereby certified;



(2) The plaintiffs and their counsel, as class representatives, fairly and adequately represent the interests of the Settlement Class, and that the other requirements of Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been satisfied;



(3) The notice previously given to the Settlement Class via publication in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and TV Guide pursuant to the Court's order entered on December 10, 1998, meets the requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;



(4) The parties' Preliminary Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable and adequate to the Settlement Class, and each member of the Settlement Class is bound by the settlement, including the release, and accordingly, the settlement is hereby approved;



(5) The Consent Decree entered herein by the Court is incorporated into this order;



(6) All claims for declaratory and injunctive relief asserted against Trans Union in the matter captioned “Steven LeBlanc, et al. v. Trans Union Corporation”, docket number 98–2081 in the consolidated, captioned matter, are hereby dismissed with prejudice;



*4 (7) All claims for actual, statutory and/or punitive damages asserted against Trans Union in the matter captioned “Steven LeBlanc, et al. v. Trans Union Corporation”, docket number 98–2081 in the consolidated, captioned matter, are hereby dismissed without prejudice;



(8) The Court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the Consent Order; and



(9) It is ordered that the matter captioned “Steven LeBlanc, et al. v. Trans Union Corporation”, docket number 98–2081 in the consolidated, captioned matter is hereby dismissed without cost and without prejudice to the right upon good cause within sixty (60) days to reopen the action if settlement is not consummated.


E.D.La.,1999.
Washington v. CSC Credit Services, Inc.
Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 1999 WL 130634 (E.D.La.)
David A. Szwak
Bodenheimer, Jones & Szwak, LLC
416 Travis Street, Suite 1404, Mid South Tower
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
318-424-1400 / Fax 221-6555
President, Bossier Little League
Chairman, Consumer Protection Section, Louisiana State Bar Association

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