Washington, D.C. — Today, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of consumer interests in Department of Agriculture Rural Development Rural Housing Service v. Kirtz, a case argued by Public Citizen Litigation Group.
The case concerned the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which allows consumers to sue creditors for failing to correct inaccurate credit information that the consumer disputes. The federal government, the nation’s largest creditor, has long attempted to avoid accountability under the FCRA by claiming that it is immune from suit under that law.
Representing the consumer plaintiff and co-counseling attorney Matthew Weisberg, Public Citizen argued that the FCRA expressly waives the government’s immunity and allows consumers to sue any creditors — including federal agencies — for FCRA violations. Today, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed and held that federal agencies are not immune from liability for credit reporting failures.
Public Citizen Litigation Group attorney Nandan Joshi, who argued the case before the Supreme Court, issued the following statement in response:
“Today’s decision confirms that federal agencies cannot escape accountability when they fail to comply with their responsibilities to consumers under the FCRA. Those responsibilities include investigating consumer disputes and correcting inaccurate information. As the Court explained, FCRA’s text means what it says: The FCRA allows consumers to sue any ‘person’ that violates the statute and defines ‘person’ to include any government agency. ”
Matthew Weisberg, lead trial counsel for Mr. Kirtz, issued the following statement:
“Without Nandan and Public Citizen, this tremendous victory for consumers would not have been possible. It has been my pleasure to have been part of this strong consumer rights team.”