Alleged Impermissible Pull of Credit Report Enough for Standing as Judge Denies Motion to Remand FCRA Case Back to State Court

A District Court judge in North Carolina has denied a plaintiff’s motion to remand a Fair Credit Reporting Act case back to state court where it was originally filed, ruling that accessing the plaintiff’s credit report without a permissible purpose to do so constitutes a concrete injury and gives the plaintiff standing to sue in federal court. The judge also denied a motion from the plaintiff for costs, expenses, and fees that were incurred as a result of the removal.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Parsons v. United Collections Bureau can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff filed suit in state court, alleging the defendant negligently and willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by obtaining a copy of his credit report without having a reason to do so. The defendant removed the case to federal court, at which point the plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case back to state court.

While the Fourth Circuit has yet to weigh in on whether such an alleged violation of the FCRA constitutes an injury-in-fact, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has, and Chief District Judhe Martin Reidinger of the District Court for the Western District of North Carolina decided that the ruling in Persinger v. Southwest Credit Systems got it right when it determined that accessing a credit report without the consumer’s permission was akin to an invasion of privacy, as if someone was unlawfully inspecting the wallet, mail, or bank account of an individual.

“… much like peering into another’s bank account without [the plaintiff’s] permission, [the defendant] accessed his consumer information from Equifax without a proper purpose,” Judge Reidinger wrote.

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