1681i[c]: Alexander v. Moore & Associates

David A. Szwak

1681i[c]: Alexander v. Moore & Associates

Postby David A. Szwak » Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:15 pm

Alexander v. Moore & Associates, Inc.
553 F.Supp. 948
Dec 30, 1982

UNI-CHECK's argument may at first blush appear to have some merit, since Mr. Okubo's payment to his roommate of the rent is not a valid defense to his obligation to pay the rent to his landlord. UNI-CHECK's problem, however, is that it cannot on the one hand claim that information regarding a consumer's prior landlord-tenant dispute is relevant for credit purposes, and on the other hand argue that the consumer's challenge to the heart of that information is "irrelevant". This is especially true where the report in the instant case of this landlord-tenant problem is allegedly being provided as evidence of Mr. Okubo's financial responsibility. Mr. Okubo's statement shows that he was in fact responsibly paying his rent, but that his roommate absconded with the money. If landlord-tenant problems are relevant to a consumer's fiscal responsibility and for that reason included in a consumer report, a dispute of such information tending to negate a conclusion of financial irresponsibility is likewise relevant, and it is incumbent upon UNI-CHECK to follow the requirements of § 1681 i(c).
In the instant case, UNI-CHECK did note that the report was disputed by Mr. Okubo. What it did not do was provide either his statement of dispute or a clear and accurate codification or summary thereof. There is therefore a clear violation of § 1681 i(c), and summary judgment on this issue is granted in favor of plaintiff Okubo.
3. Violation of § 1681 b(3). Section 1681b provides that a consumer reporting agency may furnish reports only in specified circumstances. Subsection (3)(E) allows such reports to be furnished to a person it has reason to believe has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer.
The fact that a consumer has had a landlord-tenant problem cannot, at this stage, be held to be completely irrelevant to his financial credibility, and the plaintiffs do not argue otherwise. Further, the issue is whether UNI-CHECK has reason to believe that a merchant has a legitimate business need for such information. This issue cannot be determined at this stage of the proceedings.
4. Violation of § 1681 e(a). This section provides in relevant part:
(a) Every consumer reporting agency shall maintain reasonable procedures designed ... to limit the furnishing of consumer reports to the purposes listed under section 1681b of this title.

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