New settlement documents have been mailed in the White, et at v Experian Information Solutions class action case. The class action, which also includes TransUnion and Equifax as defendants, was filed over 4 years ago in Federal Court in the Central District of California. The plaintiffs, all whom filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, allege that their credit files still showed debts that predated the filing date of their chapter 7. These debts, if statutorily discharge-able, should be shown as having a $0 balance since they were canceled by the bankruptcy.
Settlement was reached in the case in 2009 and award documentation was sent to the members of the class, which numbered in the millions. If you submitted a claim for an award you recently (or will soon) receive another document asking for additional information about your claim.
The settlement amount is $45 million, which according to my research is the second largest FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) settlement in history. If you had a credit report issued between March 15th 2002 (May 12 2001 if you’re a CA resident) and May 11 2009, you had a Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your credit file showing as discharged and you had pre-bankruptcy debts that were still showing as due and owing then you are a member of the class. You would have had to file a claim form by November 2009 in order to still have an active claim.
The damages were calculated as such; $150-$750 for denial of employment, $100-$500 for mortgage or rental denials, and $30-$150 for other credit related claims. This variable amount of “damage by inquiry type” is unique. It also sets a precedent for valuation of future FCRA, FDCPA or credit damage claims.
For more info on this settlement please visit http://www.bankruptcydischargesettlement.com/
John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.