CRA_DR_Blue_V2.0.jpg
Intelicrunch_Banner_Header.jpg

11th Circuit Reduces Punitive Damages for Consumer Reporting Agency’s FCRA Violations


The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a $250,000 compensatory damages award and reduced a $3.3 million punitive damages award to $1 million. The court held that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to prove that the consumer reporting agency willfully violated FCRA by failing to follow reasonable procedures to connect background information to common names. The court found a $3.3 million punitive damages award unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause and, pursuant to standards established by the Supreme Court, reduced the award to $1 million.

The consumer reporting agency’s standard procedure for background report requests on individuals with common names required three identifiers—such as name, date of birth, or social security number—to find a reasonable match between the record and the individual. The defendant, however, admitted that it actually permitted matches with only two identifiers. Furthermore, the court explained that the defendant’s system had no procedure to ensure that an individual who had been mispaired with a report belonging to a person with a similar name would not be mismatched in the future with other reports of the same person. In this case, the plaintiff was denied multiple job opportunities because of failed background checks that misattributed a criminal record to the plaintiff.

FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy” in preparing consumer reports and permits a private right of action for negligent or willful violations. The court affirmed the district court finding that the defendant willfully violated FCRA by failing to obtain three identifiers for individuals with common names. Beyond not following its own procedures, the court explained that the defendant failed to create adequate procedures “to flag the existence of an inaccurate first report for purposes of future reports concerning the same subject.” FULL ARTICLE

© 2020  InteliCrunch.com

InteliCrunch is a free service provided by a collective of people who monitor the background screening industry and how events affect not only the people in it, but even more importantly, the real human impact the industry has on today's society.*All third party logos and / or images used on this website are the sole property and / or registered trademarks of their respective companies or copyright holders. Use of these logos, images or likenesses does not, in any way, imply the endorsement of InteliCrunch by any of the businesses, brands or individuals represented, their parent companies, officers, employees, partners, or affiliates. Any such usage is for informational / news purposes only.  Any / all articles, announcements, releases or third-party-authored content is / are linked back to the original "source"  and author credit given  Furthermore, InteliCrunch is not responsible for, and does not warrant the safety of any third-party links or sites to which any viewer may be directed from InteliCrunch.  InteliCrunch has made reasonable efforts to ensure that any news or informational links on the site are from "known and reputable"  sources / websites.