TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires consumer reporting agencies to follow reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of any information included in a consumer credit report. 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). The FCRA also requires consumer reporting agencies to, upon request, disclose to a consumer the information included in the consumer’s credit file and to include with the disclosure a summary of the consumer’s rights under the statute. 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(a)(1), 1681g(c)(2). In this case, a jury found that the defendant violated Section 1681e(b) of the FCRA by placing alerts in consumers’ credit files falsely stating that the consumers’ names appear on a list maintained by the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) of individuals legally barred from transacting business in the United States. The jury also found that the defendant violated Sections 1681g(a)(1) and 1681g(c)(2) by failing to initially disclose these OFAC alerts to the consumers and, upon eventual disclosure, failing to include a proper summary of the consumers’ rights. In light of these violations, the jury awarded the members of the plaintiff class statutory damages.
The appeal concerns two questions. The first is whether the entire class of consumers had Article III standing to sue including class members whose credit reports were not proven to have been sold to a potential creditor or otherwise disseminated to a third party. The second is whether the named plaintiff, who was denied credit and suffered other injuries as a result of the false OFAC alert in his credit file, was sufficiently typical of the class under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)(3). The government’s brief argues that the entire class had standing to sue because both the class members whose credit reports were sold to potential creditors and those who showed only that they received their own credit reports were all exposed to a material risk of harm. The brief further argues that the entire class had standing to challenge the defendant’s failure to properly disclose the information in their credit files under the doctrine of informational injury. That doctrine recognizes standing where a defendant fails to provide the plaintiff with information the disclosure of which is required by statute. Finally, the brief argues that a remand is necessary to allow the court of appeals to reconsider whether the named plaintiff’s injuries render him atypical under Rule 23 and to consider for the first time whether the defendant forfeited its Rule 23 challenge at trial.