A District Court judge in Massachusetts has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Fair Credit Reporting Act case after it was sued for not properly investigating a dispute arising from an individual claiming loans taken out in his name were the result of identity theft.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Hopkinson v. Equifax Information Services can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff claims that his ex-wife took out student loans in his name to fund the education of their daughter. The plaintiff learned of the loans years after they were originated, he claimed, and after his daughter stopped making payments on them. The plaintiff obtained a police report detailing the identity theft and provided it to the defendant, asking to be removed as a guarantor or co-signor. The defendant responded that it conducted an investigation and deemed the plaintiff to be responsible for the debts.
The plaintiff then disputed the debts with the three major credit reporting agencies. The defendant replied to the dispute with the information from its original investigation.
In this case, the plaintiff has “adequately” claimed that the information on his credit report was inaccurate. The defendant claimed it was not required to reinvestigate the dispute when it was made via the credit reporting agencies, because it was the plaintiff’s duty to provide additional facts. The question of whether the defendant’s use of the prior investigation’s results is not one to be addressed at the motion to dismiss stage, ruled Judge Indira Talwani of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts. “The question of whether Great Lakes acted appropriately in this case — which could turn upon the nature of Plaintiff’s dispute of the debt, among other factors — is a question of fact to be resolved at a later date,” she wrote.