When collecting judgments, one of the most powerful tools for creditors is running a credit report on the debtor, since the credit report will show where the debtor has applied for credit or opened bank accounts, etc. These creditor reports are usually a gold mine for creditors, since they can lead to loan applications wherein the debtor discloses his true income, and not the “I’m completely busted broke” that the debtor will almost inevitably tell creditors at a debtor’s examination.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in Pintos v. Pacific Creditors Assoc., 605 F.3d 665 (9th Cir., 2009), essentially held that a debt collector may run a credit report of a debtor, even if the debtor doesn’t agree to it. For the last seven years, Pintoshas been widely relied upon by creditors to run credit reports for the debtors they are chasing.
But then along comes Rodriguez v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 2016 WL 3976564 (W.D.Wash., July 25 2016). In that case, Jesse Rodriguez owed four debts arising for parking violations. A debt collection company by the name of AllianceOne Receivables Management, Inc., attempted to collect on the parking tickets, and in doing so obtained a credit report from Experian. Rodriguez then sued both AllianceOne and Experian under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FRCA”) as found at 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., alleging that AllianceOne violated the FCRA when it requested the credit report, and Experian violated the FCRA when it provided it.