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FCRA recidivism

January 28, 2011

I recently stumbled across a series of posts by a Mr. Jack Gordon, who occasionally provides a public service by publishing national data about FCRA and  FDCPA lawsuits:  how many have been filed, by which lawyers, on behalf of which consumers, in which courts.  See one such post here:


What I found most interesting about this particular post was its statement that of roughly 500 plaintiffs who had filed an FCRA or FDCPA lawsuit, 181 – or almost 40% – had filed a similar lawsuit before.  These 181 people had filed over 1000 lawsuits in the past decade.

Is this good or bad?

It’s bad in that it suggests a certain cynicism about the law:  I’ve seen complaints in which a repeat plaintiff or repeat plaintiff’s lawyer sued everybody and their mother, not because everybody and their mother had done something wrong, but (I think) in the hope that most defendants would cough up a few thousand dollars and settle.

It’s good in the sense that one goal of the FCRA and FDCPA is to keep credit reporting agencies and debt collectors honest.  Most grocery shoppers don’t compare prices, but the grocery stores are kept honest by the few shoppers that do.  Likewise, it only takes a few repeat plaintiffs to keep credit reporting agencies and debt collectors honest.

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