Interesting artice re lawsuits..

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Marypc, Nov 14, 2001.

  1. Marypc

    Marypc Well-Known Member

    Someone sent me this, it is from today's issue of the New York Times:

    Justices Uphold 2-Year Deadline on Suing Credit Raters

    November 14, 2001


    WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 - Federal law gives people whose credit
    ratings have been damaged by a credit reporting company's
    mistake only two years from the date of the mistake to file
    a lawsuit, the Supreme Court ruled today, even if the
    mistake does not come to light until later. The vote was 9
    to 0.

    The decision, the first of the new term, interpreted the
    Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, which requires credit
    reporting companies to maintain "reasonable procedures" to
    assure the reliability of the information they compile and

    The law was invoked in this case by a victim of identity
    theft who learned too late that an impostor with a similar
    name and with access to her Social Security number and
    California driver's license had been able to fool TRW Inc.,
    then one of the major credit reporting companies, into
    issuing a report that let the impostor get cable television

    The impostor, Andrea Andrews, fell behind in her cable
    account, leaving the victim, Adelaide Andrews, unaware of
    the cloud on her credit rating until she tried to refinance
    her mortgage. By the time Adelaide Andrews sued TRW in 1996
    for failing to take reasonable steps - like verifying not
    only the Social Security and license numbers but birth
    date, address and first name of the applicant - to make
    sure it was issuing a report for the right person, more
    than two years had passed since the faulty report had been

    The federal district court in Los Angeles dismissed the
    suit on the ground that the two-year statute of limitations
    had expired. But the United States Court of Appeals for the
    Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, reinstated it, ruling that
    the two years should be counted from the time the injury
    was discovered and not from the date of the action said to
    have violated the credit reporting act.

    The Bush administration and consumer groups urged the court
    to uphold the appeals court's interpretation to carry out
    the pro-consumer intent of the law.

    "Although Congress expected potential plaintiffs to be
    diligent in pursuing suspected claims, there is no reason
    to think that it intended to impose a limitation period
    that would begin to run against claims that even a diligent
    consumer had no reason to suspect," the administration said
    in a brief it filed in May.

    But writing for the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said
    the Supreme Court could not create an exception to the
    statute of limitations that Congress had chosen.

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act contains one explicit
    exception; in cases of "willful misrepresentation" by the
    reporting company, the two-year limit is to be counted from
    the plaintiff's discovery of the misrepresentation. All
    nine justices agreed that this sole explicit exception
    should be interpreted to rule out the judicial creation of
    other exceptions.

    Justice Ginsburg cited a general principle of statutory
    interpretation that calls for statutes to be interpreted so
    that no clause is rendered superfluous. She said that for
    the court to formulate a "discovery rule" for the Fair
    Credit Reporting Act, under which the statute of
    limitations would count from the plaintiff's discovery of
    injury, would make the explicit exception for
    misrepresentation "entirely superfluous in all but the most
    unusual circumstances." She said the court would "distort"
    the law's text "by converting the exception into the rule."

    Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas agreed with the
    result in the case, TRW Inc. v. Andrews, No. 00-1045, but
    declined to sign the Ginsburg opinion. In a separate
    opinion by Justice Scalia, these two said the majority
    should have gone further to make clear that there is no
    "general federal rule" that counts the statute of
    limitations from the time of discovery. Justice Ginsburg
    said that "this case does not oblige us to decide" the
    broader question.

    After the events in the case, TRW transferred its credit
    reporting business to Experian Information Solutions Inc.
    Adelaide Andrews also sued another credit reporting
    company, the Trans Union Corporation, which settled the
    case before the district court's ruling.
  2. SofaKing

    SofaKing Well-Known Member

    Moral of the story:

    Hammer them early, hammer them often!

  3. lbrown59

    lbrown59 Well-Known Member

    May I add this one?
  4. lbrown59

    lbrown59 Well-Known Member

    Why do we only have 2 years to sue=but we can be sued for 7 years?

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