Maybe You Can’t Fight City Hall, But You Can Fight Equifax

An Oregon woman was awarded $18.6 million against Equifax by an Oregon federal jury last Friday for Equifax’s failure to fix major inaccuracies in her credit report – $180,000 in compensatory damages and $18.4 million in punitive damages.  The Oregonian reported on the verdict on July 26, 2013 in an article titled Equifax Must Pay $18.6 Million After Failing To Fix Oregon Woman’s Credit Report.

Image representing Equifax as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

According to the article, after being denied credit by a bank in December 2009, Julie Miller discovered her credit report showed erroneous accounts, incorrect collection attempts, the wrong Social Security number, and a different birthday. She reportedly contacted all of the credit bureaus to notify them of the inaccuracies, and all but Equifax corrected the mistakes.  Ms. Miller contacted Equifax eight times over the next two years, including filling out multiple forms faxed by Equifax seeking information. According to Justin Baxter, her Portland lawyer, information from another Julie Miller had been put on his client’s record, and in one instance, his client’s credit information had been sent to companies inquiring about the other Julie Miller.  Mr. Baxter stated:

There was damage to her reputation, a breach of her privacy and the lost opportunity to seek credit.  She has a brother who is disabled and who can’t get credit on his own, and she wasn’t able to help him.

The article reports that the verdict will likely be appealed.

Perhaps the verdict will be upheld on appeal, and Ms. Miller gets $18 million.  But perhaps the verdict gets overturned, and she gets far less or nothing but a legal bill. While justice seems to have prevailed in this case, the question for legal consumers is . . . does it always, and at what cost?

Litigation is time-consuming, emotionally taxing, and expensive.  And while sometimes you win . . . sometimes you lose.

You’ve got options.  The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field.  Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.

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