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Maryland Woman's Lawsuit Over Consumer Report Thrown Out of Court

Satellite Dish.jpgA Maryland woman's attempt to take a satellite television provider to task for pulling her credit report without her permission has been dismissed by a federal trial court. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland said Christina L. Suit failed to put forth the facts needed to support her claim.

Suit filed a lawsuit against Direct TV in June 2012. In suit papers, she said the company "accessed [her] credit file and information impermissibly and thorugh the use of false pretenses, without [her] consent or knowledge and without a legitimate business reason to do so" on or about March 2012. Suit said she did not have a credit account or loan with Direct TV nor did she apply to the company for the purpose of obtaining credit, insurance or employment. Suit also said in her lawsuit that she informed the company that it did not have the authority to access her credit report. Suit alleged that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The FCRA imposes civil liability on any person, including corporations, that willfully or negligently fails to comply with its requirements. Section 1681(f) forbids persons from using or obtaining a consumer report for any purpose unless that purpose is expressly authorized by the FCRA. To state a claim for an improper use of a consumer report, a plaintiff has to show that (1) there was a consumer report; (2) that the defendant used or obtained it; (3) that the defendant did so without a permissible statutory purpose; and (4) that the defendant acted with the specified culpable mental state. In addition, the FCRA explicitly excludes from the definition of consumer reports several categories of information that might otherwise be described as credit files.

Direct TV moved to dismiss the lawsuit.

The court said Suit failed to plead the facts necessary to support the conclusion that the "credit files" allegedly accessed by Direct TV were consumer reports as defined by the FCRA. The FCRA defines a consumer report as "any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness." The complaint did not allege facts to support the legal conclusion that the information contained in the credit files is the sort of communication about creditworthiness that constitutes a consumer report, the court said. Therefore, Suit had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

As a result, the court granted Direct TV's motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The case was released on November 20.

Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz has represented consumers in credit, bankruptcy and debt collection cases for many years. Call our bankruptcy attorneys at 410-234-0100 or email us for a free consultation and let us help you to resolve your credit and debt problems through prompt and professional action that will make what otherwise would appear to be an impossible situation a very manageable one for you and your family!

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