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Katy is a senior litigation associate at Squire Patton Boggs. She specializes in complex litigation and government investigations to include consumer and privacy litigation and data breach investigations. She first honed her consumer law acumen as a Marine Corps attorney where she was responsible for advising servicemembers about their various rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. After fourteen years on active duty, Katy transitioned to private practice at Squire Patton Boggs where she now defends global companies in high-stakes litigation and internal investigations.

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In Perkins v. MOHELA, 5:19-cv-01281-FB-HJB (W.D. Texas), Ms. Kanita Perkins sued Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (“MOHELA”) and a handful of other defendants for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  Ms. Perkins transitioned from the Air Force and chose to attend dental school.  Not cheap.  While applying for financial aid, she learned that

FCRA cases can be dangerous. Potentially deadly. Especially when the FCRA plaintiff’s counsel pros get a hold of you.

One defendant recently found that out the hard way in a suit that saw an award of over $100k in damages and nearly $400k in attorney’s fees awarded to a Plaintiff in an individual suit.

The case spun out of a dispute involving the furnisher’s alleged unreasonable investigation into a consumer dispute. The Plaintiff contended—and the jury ultimately found—that the Defendant violated the FCRA. It awarded over $100k in damages as a result.

Continue Reading BEWARE FCRA Dangers: Court Awards $400k in Attorneys’ Fees to Plaintiff After Trial Win—But Defendant Avoids Potential $165MM in Punitive Damages

A coalition of 23 attorneys general are upset with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).

Really upset.

On April 1, 2020, the CFPB issued a policy statement that it intended to relax certain oversight priorities during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and this sent the attorneys general into something of a panic.  Indeed, in a heated letter delivered to the CFPB, the coalition demanded the CFPB retract its position, enforce the law under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and not take perceived leniency on Credit Reporting Agencies (“CRAs”) and furnishers during the current pandemic.  But was the loud alarm justified?  Maybe not if one considers the whole picture and collaborative approach the CFPB has taken well before the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was enacted to protect both consumers and credit reporting operations alike.

Continue Reading Unfair Attack?: 23 State AGs Blast CFPB’s COVID-19 FCRA Response—But is the Criticism Justified?

In Barron v. Equifax Info. Servs., L.L.C, No. 19-60817, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13026 (5th Cir. Apr. 22, 2020), the Fifth Circuit agreed with the lower court that Equifax and Experian performed a reasonable reinvestigation of plaintiff’s file under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) when they verified the plaintiff’s file through the Automated Consumer Dispute Verification (“ACDV”) system to Citibank (the furnisher).  See 15 U.S.C. §1681i(a)(1)(A).  And since there was no genuine issue of material fact on the reasonableness question, the Court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Agrees that a Furnisher Does Not Have to Go Beyond ACDV in Reinvestigation

Another furnisher victory on the pleadings, which again highlights the importance of an aggressive defense mindset from a case’s inception.    Winning a case on a motion to dismiss is one of the quickest and most cost-efficient ways to end a lawsuit; and below is how Centric Bank’s (“Centric”) defense team did just that in Hassel