Punitive Damages: Knew Acts Unlawful and Intended? Gohman

David A. Szwak

Punitive Damages: Knew Acts Unlawful and Intended? Gohman

Postby David A. Szwak » Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:02 pm

Gohman v. Equifax Information Services, LLC
395 F.Supp.2d 822
Jul 21, 2005

Even if plaintiff could not show actual damages, however, she may be entitled to punitive damages if Equifax willfully violated FCRA. See 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a). A willful violation "requires knowing and intentional commission of an act the defendant knows to violate the law." Phillips v. Grendahl, 312 F.3d 357, 370 (8th Cir.2002). Plaintiff alleges that Equifax willfully violated FCRA by (1) failing to take action after receiving the "universal data form" from Wells Fargo, (2) failing to make a record of communications with Wells Fargo and CSC and (3) failing to require CSC to make changes to her file within a particular time period. As to plaintiff's first allegation, she has made no showing that Equifax did not follow its usual procedure and forward Wells Fargo's update to CSC. As to her remaining allegations, plaintiff has not shown how Equifax knew that such actions may be unlawful or intentionally committed those acts. For those reasons, plaintiff has failed to show that Equifax willfully violated FCRA. Therefore, summary judgment is warranted on plaintiff's punitive damages claim.

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