THE LATEST: On May 5, 2022 organizations dedicated to pursuing economic justice for low income and other consumers, represented by Democracy Forward, urged the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Sessa v. Trans Union to reverse the district court order, writing:

If the district court’s rule is left standing, the end result, … will be that CRAs will enjoy virtual immunity from liability for consumer-credit inaccuracies, no matter how pervasive, obvious, or harmful to consumers. And consumers will continue to pay the price.”

Consumer advocacy organizations signing the brief include: CAMBA Legal Services, Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Consumer Action, Housing Clinic of Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, Mobilization for Justice, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumer Law Center, New Economy Project, Public Justice, and U.S. PIRG.


Consumer-reporting agencies (like Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax) hold considerable power over most Americans’ lives. The consumer-credit reports that agencies package and disseminate affect consumers’ ability to obtain credit at an affordable rate, secure home and auto insurance, satisfy a prospective employer’s background screening, or rent an apartment, among countless other transactions.

The law requires agencies to take reasonable steps to produce credit reports that are “maximally accurate.” For example, since thousands of people share the same first and last name, agencies must use additional identifying information when matching a piece of credit data to an individual consumer. The credit files used by these agencies are often teeming with errors and agencies regularly fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent even easily identifiable errors.

Multiple courts have held that whether an agency has complied with its obligation is a fact-sensitive inquiry.  This means balancing the harm that the inaccurate information causes a consumer against the burden that more accurate information would impose on the reporting agency.

A decision in the Southern District of New York would leave consumers without a way of redressing credit-reporting errors that may otherwise follow them for years. This decision discarded the prior “fact-bound reasonableness analysis” and replaced it with a rule that “all but immunizes CRAs from liability.”

Last Updated: May 9, 2022