FCRA lawsuit against Equifax for reporting a judgment that has been vacated.


It is a fact of life that if a judgment is entered against you then you will have that judgment show up on your credit report.

But what if the judgment was a mistake?

Well, it is not enough for you to say it is a mistake.  The judge has to set aside the judgment.

But you get him to set aside the judgment.

Now it will be off of your credit report, right?

Well, it should be but often it won’t be.  The credit reporting agencies are notoriously unreliable when it comes to reporting judgments.  They can read them just fine when the judgments are against you but for some reason they can’t read orders that say the judgment has been set aside.

So you dispute it under the FCRA — Fair Credit Reporting Act — and hope for the best.  When it is not fixed, you sue under the FCRA in federal court.  They tend to not have any problems reading federal court lawsuits as you can imagine…..

If you have questions about your credit reports and you live in Alabama feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll get back with you right away.

COMPLAINT

COMES NOW the Plaintiff, by and through counsel, and for Plaintiff’s Complaint against the Defendant states as follows:

  1. This action arises out of Defendant’s violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act[1]  (15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. [hereinafter “FCRA”]), out of state law violations and out of the invasion of Plaintiff’s personal and financial privacy by the Defendant.
  2. The Plaintiff was sued by Unifund CCR Partners (“Unifund”) for a debt Unifund claimed Plaintiff owed.
  3. A judgment was entered against Plaintiff.
  4. The court then vacated the judgment and dismissed the case with prejudice.
  5. Defendant refused to remove a notation of a public record judgment against Plaintiff.

JURISDICTION

  1. Personal jurisdiction exists over Defendant as it had the necessary minimum contacts with the State of Alabama and this suit arises out of its specific conduct with Plaintiff in Alabama.  All the actions described in this suit occurred in Alabama.
  2. Subject matter jurisdiction exists under federal question jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. Section 1331) and through diversity jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. Section 1332) as the amount claimed exceeds $75,000.00 between these diverse parties.

VENUE

  1. Venue is proper as Plaintiff lives in Alabama and the Defendant does business in this judicial district.

PARTIES

  1. Plaintiff  Jeniece Moody (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) is a natural person who is a resident of Alabama.
  2. Defendant Equifax Information Services, LLC, (“Defendant” or “Equifax”) is a foreign company that engages in the business of maintaining and reporting consumer credit information and does business in this Judicial District.  Its principal place of business is the State of Georgia and it is incorporated in Georgia.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

  1. On November 6, 2012, Unifund sued Plaintiff Moody in the District Court of Macon County, Alabama, with a case number of DV-2012-900043.
  2. On November 21, 2012, Plaintiff Moody filed an Answer.
  3. Based on Moody’s Answer, Unifund moved for a consent judgment on December 7, 2012.
  4. On December 10, 2012, an Order for Consent Judgment was filed against Plaintiff Moody.
  5. On June 7, 2013 a Joint Motion to Set Aside Judgment and Dismiss Case with Prejudice was filed.
  6. On June 7, 2013 an Order was entered stating that “the consent judgment of December 10, 2012 is set aside and held for naught” and “this case is dismissed with prejudice, with costs taxed as paid.”
  7. Equifax has reported the judgment against Plaintiff even though the judgment was vacated.
  8. After the judgment was set aside, Plaintiff sent one or more letters to Defendant Equifax requesting an investigation of the judgment that still appeared on Plaintiff Moody’s credit report.
  9. Plaintiff Moody requested the judgment be deleted.
  10. Defendant Equifax was not concerned and did not care about what the state court did in the case as Defendant Equifax did not intend to perform a reasonable investigation.
  11. Defendant Equifax did not perform any type of reasonable investigation.
  12. Defendant failed to properly investigate this dispute as if Defendant had properly investigated, the judgment would have been deleted.
  13. On June 20, 2013, Defendant Equifax issued its results of investigation, which shows the judgment with a balance.
  14. Defendant Equifax has continued to report this judgment even with the Judge’s order of June 7, 2013.
  15. Defendant was provided with more than sufficient information in the dispute and in its own sources of information to conduct an investigation and to conclude that the judgment complained of was being reported incorrectly.
  16. Defendant Equifax has previously proclaimed that it is obligated to rely upon whatever the public records state about a consumer.
  17. Defendant Equifax, however, refused to rely upon what the state court judge actually said – – an Order setting aside the consent judgment. and dismissing the case with prejudice.
  18. Defendant Equifax refused to read the Order or it read the Order and then chose to ignore it.
  19. The Order in favor of Plaintiff Moody means Plaintiff Moody does not have the judgment against her.
  20. The state court ruling was a final judgment.
  21. This final judgment was not appealed.
  22. Defendant Equifax maliciously, willfully, intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently failed to review the information provided in the disputes and that was already in its files and to conduct a reasonable investigation on Plaintiff Moody’s disputes, which led as a direct result and consequence to the Defendant either failing to delete information found to be inaccurate, failing to replace the inaccurate information with accurate information, and/or reinserting the information without following the dictates of the FCRA.
  23. At all relevant times the Defendant Equifax failed to maintain and failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff Moody’s credit reports, violating 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) and state law.
  24. Defendant failed to properly maintain and failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff Moody’s credit information and Plaintiff Moody’s credit report, thus violating state law as set forth in this Complaint.  These violations occurred before, during, and after the dispute process began with Defendant Equifax.
  25. Defendant Equifax has failed to maintain Plaintiff Moody’s account with maximum accuracy and Defendant Equifax has failed to properly investigate the account in response to the disputes made by Plaintiff Moody.
  26. The conduct of the Defendant Equifax has proximately cause Plaintiff Moody past and future monetary loss, past and future damage to Plaintiff Moody’s credit worthiness, past and future mental distress and emotional anguish, and other damages that will be presented to the trier of fact.
  27. It is a practice of the Defendant to maliciously, willfully, recklessly, wantonly and/or negligently ignore and refuse to follow the requirements of the FCRA and state law.
  28. Defendant Equifax is a sophisticated business and it knows its conduct is wrong.
  29. All actions taken by Defendant Equifax were done with malice, were done willfully, and were done with either the desire to harm Plaintiff Moody and/or with the knowledge that its actions would very likely harm Plaintiff Moody and/or that its actions were taken in violation of the FCRA and/or state law and/or that it knew or should have known that its actions were in reckless disregard of the FCRA and/or state law.
  30. Defendant Equifax has engaged in a pattern and practice of wrongful and unlawful behavior with respect to accounts and consumer reports and as such Defendant Equifax is subject to punitive damages and statutory damages and all other appropriate measures to punish and deter similar future conduct by these Defendant and similar companies.
  31. Defendant is liable to Plaintiff Moody through the doctrine of Respondeat Superior for the wrongful, intentional and negligent acts, errors, and omissions done in violation of state and federal law by its employees and agents.
  32. Plaintiff has suffered actual damages as a result of these illegal actions by Defendant Equifax in the form of anger, anxiety, emotional distress, fear, frustration, upset, humiliation, embarrassment, amongst other negative emotions, as well as suffering from unjustified and abusive invasions of personal privacy.

CAUSES OF ACTION

COUNT I.

VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT

15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.

  1. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. Defendant Equifax is a “consumer reporting agency,” as codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(e).
  3. Plaintiff Moody notified Defendant Equifax directly of a dispute on the judgment’s completeness and/or accuracy, as reported.
  4. Defendant Equifax failed to delete information found to be inaccurate, reinserted the information without following the FCRA, or failed to properly investigate Plaintiff Moody’s disputes.
  5. Plaintiff Moody alleges that at all relevant times Defendant Equifax failed to maintain and failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff Moody’s credit reports, concerning the account in question, violating 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b).
  6. Plaintiff Moody alleges that Defendant Equifax failed to conduct a proper and lawful reinvestigation.  For example, Defendant Equifax was given notice that the judgment was vacated and the case dismissed with prejudice, but Defendant Equifax apparently failed to review the Order, the court file or contact the court or contact counsel for Unifund.  Other examples will become apparent once discovery is commenced.
  7. All actions taken by the Defendant Equifax were done with malice, were done willfully, and were done with either the desire to harm Plaintiff Moody and/or with the knowledge that its actions would very likely harm Plaintiff Moody and/or that its actions were taken in violation of the FCRA and state law and/or that it knew or should have known that its actions were in reckless disregard of the FCRA and state law.
  8. All of the violations of the FCRA proximately caused the injuries and damages set forth in this Complaint.

COUNT II.

STATE LAW CLAIMS

  1. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
  2. Defendant intentionally published false and defamatory information related to the judgment.
  3. Plaintiff gave Defendant Equifax written notice to withdraw the false information but Defendant Equifax refused to do so.
  4. Defendant acted with negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, and/or intentional conduct in its dealings with and about Plaintiff as set forth in this Complaint.  This includes the reporting of the judgment and the handling of any investigations on the judgment.
  5. Defendant assumed a duty to accurately report on Plaintiff.
  6. Defendant violated all of the duties the Defendant had and such violations were made intentionally, willfully, recklessly, maliciously, wantonly, and negligently.
  7. It was foreseeable, and Defendant Equifax did in fact foresee it, that refusing to properly update and investigate would cause the exact type of harm suffered by the Plaintiff.
  8. Defendant invaded the privacy of Plaintiff as set forth in Alabama law, including publishing false information about Plaintiff’s personal financial obligations.
  9. The Defendant acted with intentional, reckless, or wanton conduct in reporting this false information.
  10. Such negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, willfulness, and/or intentional conduct proximately caused the damages set forth in this complaint and such conduct occurred before, during and after the dispute to Defendant Equifax.
  11. As a result of this conduct, action, and inaction of Defendant, Plaintiff has suffered damages as set forth in this Complaint.


PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff prays that judgment be entered against Defendant Equifax for all damages allowable (including statutory, actual, compensatory, nominal and punitive the total of which Plaintiff claims more than $75,000.00), costs, expenses, attorney fees, injunctive relief to prevent further violations, and for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

                                                       

John G. Watts (ASB-5819-t82j)

M. Stan Herring (ASB-1074-n72m)

Watts & Herring, LLC

The Kress Building

301 19th Street North

Birmingham, Alabama 35203

(205) 879-2447

(888) 522-7167 facsimile

[email protected]

[email protected]

Attorneys for Plaintiff

 

 

PLAINTIFF DEMANDS A TRIAL BY JURY IN THIS CAUSE.

 

                                                                                                           

                                                      Attorney for Plaintiff

 

 


Serve defendant via certified mail at the following addresses:

Equifax Information Services, LLC

c/o CSC Lawyers Incorporating SVC, Inc.

150 S. Perry Street

Montgomery, Alabama 36104



[1] Any reference the FCRA or any part thereof encompasses all relevant parts and subparts thereto.

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