11th Circuit Agrees That FCRA Statutory Damages Do Not Require Proof of Actual Damages

The Fair Credit Reporting Act provides that consumers that establish a consumer reporting agency has willfully failed to comply with the statute’s requirement may recover either (1) their actual damages, or (2) “damages of not less than $100 and not more than $1,000.”

In Santos v. Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group, LLC, Experian argued that, in order to recover under the second option, a plaintiff must prove that they suffered actual damages as an element of their claim, and that without such damages, plaintiffs also lack Article III standing. The district court had agreed that actual damages were an element of the claim, and denied class certification. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit this week held that (1) evidence that Experian inaccurately reported information about plaintiffs’ credit status constituted an injury-in-fact, and (2), agreeing with the five other circuits to consider the issue, a plaintiff can recover damages under the second statutory option without proving they suffered any actual damages. It thus vacated the denial of class certification and remanded to the district court for further consideration.

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