Credit reports contain personal and sensitive information. This fact is not only understood as a matter of common sense but also as a matter of law. Courts throughout the country have repeatedly affirmed that obtaining a credit report without authorization under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) constitutes a “concrete” harm conferring Article III standing. In other words, the harm that occurs by obtaining a credit report (acquisition of sensitive and personal information) without authorization is a harm sufficient to allow an individual to proceed with a lawsuit in federal court. This principle was recently confirmed in a case involving Capital One.
In Nayab v. Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., No. 17-55944 (9th Cir. Oct. 31, 2019), the plaintiff Freshta Nayab instituted a class action lawsuit under the FCRA for Capital One having allegedly obtained plaintiff’s credit report (and those of similarly situated consumers) without authorization. The district court dismissed the plaintiff’s case because, among other things, it determined that Capital One having acquired plaintiff’s credit reports without authorization did not constitute a concrete harm allowing the plaintiff to maintain the lawsuit in federal court. Nayab’s case was dismissed and it was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit (includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii and Idaho) held, among other things, that obtaining a credit report without authorization constituted a concrete harm, and on this basis the district court should not have dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. This holding was important in reaffirming the important privacy rights of consumers relating to credit reports in the Ninth Circuit.
If you believe that your credit report was obtained with permission or authorization it is important to seek the guidance of a skilled FCRA and Consumer Protection Attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys, contact The Kim Law Firm, LLC today by calling 855-996-6342.