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TransUnion To Pay $1.4M To Settle Credit Report Row

Credit information firm Trans Union LLC agreed Thursday to pay $1.4 million and to correct the credit reports of some 159,000 proposed class members who allegedly received inaccurate credit reports that listed certain Virginia state court judgments as unpaid even though may have been paid or vacated.

In a settlement motion filed in Virginia federal court, Donna Soutter, who first brought the suit in 2008, said the parties had settled the claims of her suit brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The proposed settlement includes a $1.4 million cash component, from which proposed class members can make claims for payments, and the plaintiffs attorneys can obtain their fees, according to the motion. Leonard Bennett of Consumer Litigation Associates PC, who represents Soutter in the dispute, told Law360 on Friday that there is no agreement yet on what percentage of the $1.4 million fund would go toward the plaintiffs attorneys' fees.

"The core [of the settlement] is the injunctive relief requirement by which we have obtained the [Virginia] Supreme Court judgment data, and are causing the full correction of the 159,000 class member credit reports," Bennett said Friday.

A TransUnion spokesman said Friday that the company does not comment on litigation matters.

Soutter had claimed that a copy of her credit report that she had obtained from TransUnion showed in 2008 that it was wrongly reporting a judgment against her in state court in Virginia, even though the court had set aside that judgment earlier that error because it was wrongly entered, according to her amended complaint filed March 2011.

TransUnion also had sent copies of Soutter's report with the allegedly wrong information to a number of third parties, she claimed in her suit, which claimed TransUnion had a uniform policy of including such Virginia state court judgments without verifying the most up-to-date status of those judgments.

"As a result, a class of approximately 159,000 consumers had an inaccurate consumer report issued about them by Trans Union; each of these consumer reports showed an unpaid judgment when in fact the court records showed that the judgment had been satisfied, vacated or appealed at least thirty days before Trans Union's report was prepared," Soutter's settlement motion said.

The settlement, which only releases claims related to Virginia civil judgments, also allows class members to receive six months of TransUnion's primary credit monitoring service that it sells for $14.95 a month, according to the motion.

Soutter is represented by Leonard Anthony Bennett, Janelle Mason Mikac and Susan Mary Rotkis of Consumer Litigation Associates PC.

Trans Union LLC is represented by Grant Edward Kronenberg of Morris & Morris PC, Paul Lee Myers and Matthew Kasey Ratliff of Strasburger & Price LLP and Stephan Julian Newman of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

The case is Soutter v. Trans Union LLC, case number 3:10-cv-00514, in the Eastern District of Virginia.

By Sindhu Sundar. Law360, New York http://www.law360.com/articles/493869/transunion-to-pay-1-4m-to-settle-credit-report-row-

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