Two California consumers filed suit against Wells Fargo for allegedly reporting
false information on their credit reports. See
Levinson v. Transunion, LLC, Equifax Information Services, LLC, Experian Information Solutions,
Inc., Innovis Data Solutions, Inc., and Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 2016 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 72284 (C.D. Cal. June 2, 2016). The husband and wife had obtained
a Wells Fargo Home Equity Line of Credit. Basically, the couple claimed
that Wells Fargo provided credit reporting agencies information about
the couple that it knew or should have known was incomplete or inaccurate,
due to a "mixed file error." A mixed file is when the credit
reporting agency has mixed the information in your credit report with
someone else’s information.
Wells Fargo Bank brought a motion to have the case against it thrown out,
but the judge did not completely agree with Wells Fargo Bank. The court
first discussed how, "Congress enacted the FCRA to counteract unfair
and inaccurate reporting practices that undermine consumer confidence.
15 U.S.C. § 1681(a);
Nelson v. Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp., 282 F.3d 1057, 105859 (9th Cir. 2002)." The judge held the
couple did have valid claims under federal and California credit reporting
laws, and refused to throw the case out in its entirety, giving the couple
a chance to file an amended lawsuit to address some concerns he had.
Specifically, the judge held the couple had adequately alleged that Wells
Fargo willfully or negligently violated its obligations under the federal
Fair Credit Reporting Act and California Consumer Credit Reporting Act.
But, the court went on to explain, a consumer "must support its claim
for pain and suffering with specific claims of genuine injury, such as
emotional distress or physical injury", and wanted the consumers
to further explain their emotional distress. See Dewi v. Wells Fargo Bank,
2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189878, 2012 WL 10423239, at *8 (C.D. Cal. August
8, 2012). The court disagreed with Wells Fargo Bank's request to throw
the case out and gave the consumers another opportunity to clarify their
pain and suffering or emotional distress. The court explained how in other
Fair Credit Reporting Act cases courts have found what would be a sufficient
injury, such as "emotional distress, manifested by sleeplessness,
nervousness, frustration, and mental anguish resulting from the incorrect
information in her credit report."
Guimond v. Trans Union Credit Info. Co., 45 F.3d 1329, 1333 (9th Cir. 1995).
The court also disagreed with Wells Fargo Bank and its attempt to knock
out the couple's punitive damages claim. Punitive damages allow a
jury to basically punish a defendant if it has engaged in a willful or
reckless violation of the law.
So, as it stands, the consumers will be allowed to move forward and try
to show that there was false information on their credit report that caused
them emotional distress, for which they are allowed to seek compensation.
And, if a jury believes a violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting
Act was willful or reckless, may also require them to pay the consumer
Are you the victim of a false credit report? Do you need help getting your
Wilcox Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Ronald Wilcox has been protecting the rights and interests of
consumers for more than two decades and knows what it takes to secure results.
Ready to start exploring your legal options with a proven San Jose consumer
Call our firm now.