Ninth Circuit Grants Joint Motion to Stay in TransUnion Case

A Joint Motion to Stay the mandate was issued pending TransUnion's filing for a writ of certiorari after the court denied the consumer credit report agency their Petition for Rehearing.

In this class action case, Ramirez v. TransUnion, LLC, an 8,185 member class alleged that TransUnion knowingly violated the FCRA by incorrectly placing terrorist alerts on the front page of consumers' credit reports. This was allegedly followed by TransUnion issuing misleading and incomplete disclosures to consumers about the alerts and the removal process.

For the first time, the Ninth Circuit held that each member of the class needed "standing" to recover damages at the final judgment stage. The court held that the 8,185 individuals did have standing even though over 75 percent of the class' credit reports were not actually disclosed to a third party. The court supported this ruling by contending that TransUnion's alleged violation of the consumers' statutory rights under the FCRA , by itself, constituted a concrete injury. The Ninth Circuit also reduced the jury's punitive damages award of 6.45 times the statutory damages award to 4 times the statutory damages award.

TransUnion submitted a Petition for Rehearing, claiming that the majority's decision "not only conflicts with Supreme Court teachings, but puts the Ninth Circuit on the wrong side of a lopsided circuit split." TransUnion further contended that the class of consumers did not have standing for their FCRA claims unless their credit reports were disclosed to a third party. TransUnion also argued that the class should be decertified since Ramirez "was radically atypical of the class he purported to represent" because there was no evidence supporting that any other class member's credit report was disseminated. Lastly, TransUnion claims that the court should have reduced the punitive damages award further. TransUnion argues the Supreme Court requires, at a maximum, a punitive damages award that is "equal to compensatory damages . . . when compensatory damages are substantial."

The court denied TransUnion's Petition for Rehearing or Rehearing En Banc but did grant the parties' Joint Motion to Stay the Mandate, pending TransUnion's filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court.

Posted: July 22, 2020

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