SW Legal studies in Business

Consumer Reporting Agencies Must Have Procedures to Ensure Accuracy of Information
Description Appeals court held that it was to be determined at trial if a consumer reporting service that provides accident histories of truck drivers to trucking companies took adequate steps to ensure that the information it provided to prospective employers was accurate about accident histories.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Fair Credit Reporting Act; Consumer Agencies; Employment; Accidents; Information
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Cassara worked for two trucking companies. When he left them, they reported to DAC Services, a consumer reporting agency, about Cassara's record. DAC provided this information to other companies inquiring about Cassara. It is standard practice for trucking companies to gather information about prospective employees because they are required by the Department of Transportation to investigate driving records and employment history of prospective drivers of large trucks. Accidents must be reported, but the focus is on injury-causing accidents. Cassara was involved in eight damage incidents while driving, but none involved injuries. He sued DAC for listing the incidents as accidents. Cassara contended that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was violated because DAC did not have adequate procedures to ensure accuracy of the kinds of accidents reported. The trial court dismissed the suit; Cassara appealed.

Affirmed in part; reversed in part. The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to follow reasonable procedures to ensure accuracy of information about individuals. To sue for a violation, a plaintiff must show: 1) the agency failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure the accuracy of its reports; 2) that the report in question was, in fact, inaccurate; 3) that the plaintiff suffered an injury; and 4) that the agency's failure caused the injury. Trucking companies are not restricted to only learning about injury-causing accidents, which is the focus of federal regulations. But it is for the trial court to decide if the information provided by DAC followed reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of its reports since trucking companies that report accidents do not have standard definitions about accidents.

Citation Cassara v. DAC Services, Inc., F.3d (2002 WL 59687, 10th Cir., 2002)

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