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Odoemene v. Greenpoint Mortgage Funding, Inc.

A-2659-08T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2010) (Unpublished)

FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT — The Fair Credit Reporting Act does not establish a private cause of action against persons who violate the duties imposed by the Act with respect to providing inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency.

A borrower sued a lender claiming that the lender had fraudulently provided negative information to certain credit reporting agencies regarding the borrower’s loans. The borrower alleged that the lender did not make the loans and several requests to correct the erroneous reports to the credit agencies were ignored. He claimed that he sustained monetary damages due to the erroneous credit reports. The lender argued that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) did not establish a private cause of action for providing inaccurate information to a credit reporting agency.

The lower court, agreeing with the lender, ruled that the FCRA did not establish a private right to sue the lender. In addition, it noted that the lender sent electronic notices and certain forms to the four main credit reporting agencies correcting the error “to show that the payments due under the note and mortgage were made in a current manner.” The borrower appealed.

On appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed, agreeing with the lower court that the FCRA did not provide a private cause of action against persons who violate the duties imposed by it. Enforcement of those duties is limited to certain governmental agencies and officials. In addition, it noted that the FCRA only requires that, when informed of a dispute as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided to a “consumer reporting agency,” the person who furnished the information must conduct an appropriate investigation and report the results of the investigation to the agency. Although it took note that some courts have held that the FCRA created a private cause of action against persons who willfully or negligently violate the duties imposed to investigate and correct incomplete or inaccurate information, here the Court found that the borrower failed to plead sufficient facts to show that the lender violated these statutory requirements. In fact, it found the record showed that the lender did, in fact, correct the error.


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