At least two more proposed class action lawsuits allege TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions (TURSS) has routinely reported inaccurate and/or outdated consumer information to potential landlords.
One case, filed in Florida on April 5, alleges TURSS has regularly and illegally reported to potential landlords eviction information pertaining to cases and judgments that have been dismissed, withdrawn, satisfied or have resulted in a judgment in favor of the tenant. The other lawsuit, filed on April 7 in Maryland, alleges TURSS has falsely reported to potential landlords expunged criminal records that should not have been included in the plaintiff’s report.
Both cases allege TURSS, a subsidiary of “Big 3” credit reporting firm TransUnion, has violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), in particular as a result of its apparent failure to employ reasonable procedures to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of the consumer information it reports.
The plaintiff in the Florida lawsuit argues that TURSS, despite the public availability of court records that conclusively show the true status of eviction cases, has nonetheless routinely failed to obtain up-to-date eviction records information. Per the case, the defendant’s practices “harm consumers seeking residential leases by prejudicing their landlords with inaccurate, adverse information.”
According to the complaint, TURSS has, “for many years,” bought public records information pertaining to residential eviction litigation from private vendors instead of retrieving the information from actual court records, or from “even more manageable digital representations,” for the purposes of creating and selling tenant screening reports to landlords and rental property managers. The case also claims TURSS relies heavily on information available online and that can be retrieved by way of automated procedures. Per the lawsuit, TURSS “frequently fails to obtain data that could be obtained through an in-person or telephonic visit to a courthouse,” and fails to obtain data that exists online but requires a user to do slightly more digging in order to advance beyond an initial summary of the information.
“Regardless of whether data comes from a vendor or directly from a jurisdiction, TURSS does not obtain complete records, often obtaining only summary data available online or in bulk,” the case alleges.
Further, the suit claims TURSS and its vendors fail to regularly re-check dockets to find updated dispositions. According to the case, the defendant “often only reports the fact of an eviction filing against a consumer, but fails to report subsequent facts” that might be favorable to the individual, such as a verdict in their favor. Per the case, the eviction information TURSS purchases is “merely a summary that does not include the most up-to-date information.” The lawsuit claims TURSS is aware that its practices “violate the law.”
The case further states that the purchasing of “distilled, incomplete civil public records information was the impetus for regulatory investigations of [the defendant’s] corporate parent and partner, TransUnion,” among other consumer reporting agencies, and the subject of dozens of class action lawsuits throughout the U.S. that ultimately resulted in a nationwide settlement with TransUnion.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Maryland alleges TURSS’s reporting of expunged criminal information to a potential landlord cost him his ability to rent the property of his choice, causing “injury, including emotional distress, embarrassment, inconvenience, anxiety, fear of homelessness, and financial loss.” According to the complaint, the defendant’s inaccurate reporting could have been easily avoided had the company consulted current public records prior to issuing information on the plaintiff to the prospective landlord.
Per the lawsuit, a “simple search of the Maryland Judiciary Case Search,” which is available online, would have confirmed certain case information on the plaintiff and that charges related to the individual no longer exist.
“Accordingly, any member of the public who took a five-minute cursory review of the public records available regarding Plaintiff could confirm the flaw in the Report,” the suit reads.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.