In Daniel v. Goodyear Tire/CBSD, 2018 U.S. App LEXIS 29345, the Sixth Circuit on October 17 affirmed the dismissal of a claim for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by accessing a credit report without a permissible purpose. The Court of Appeals held the claimant had failed to plead sufficient factual allegations demonstrating a plausible claim to relief under the FCRA or state law.
The FCRA provides a private right of action against businesses that willfully or negligently access a consumer’s credit information without a “permissible purpose.” Permissible purposes include, among other things, using the credit information in connection with a credit application involving a consumer or reviewing or collecting an account. In Daniel, consumer plaintiff Rochelle Daniel alleged that she learned in April 2013 that the defendant card issuer had requested her credit report in June 2012, even though she allegedly never applied for credit, employment, or insurance. Daniel, however, did not contact the card issuer until sixteen months later, by which time it no longer had any records related to the alleged credit inquiry or potential credit application. Based on these factual allegations, Daniel brought claims for willful and negligent violation of FCRA and a state law claim for invasion upon seclusion.
In affirming the district court’s dismissal, the Court of Appeals ruled that Daniel had not stated a claim for willful violation of FCRA, as her allegation that the credit issuer had no record of a credit application in her name more than two years after the alleged inquiry did not constitute reckless disregard of the FCRA. The Court further determined that Daniel had not stated a claim for damages for negligent violation of the FCRA. Despite claiming that she suffered mental anguish and was “frustrated” that the credit issuer’s representative provided an “unapologetic and nonchalant” response, she did not allege behavior that could give rise to emotional distress that would constitute a claim for damages under FCRA. Accordingly, the dismissal of the action was affirmed.