TransUnion again appealed. The credit reporting agency argued that it only reported the OFAC information and should not be held responsible for its accuracy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit disagreed, upholding the lower court’s verdict. The appellate court ruled that TransUnion was responsible for the accuracy of the OFAC information if the agency chose to list it on credit reports.
The court noted that the credit report did not say that Cortez was a “possible” match or had a name “similar” to someone on the OFAC list. Instead it reported a “match” with someone on the list. However, TransUnion’s records showed that Cortez was born in 1944 and her middle name was Jean. The person on the OFAC list was named Sandra Quintero Cortes and was born in 1971. Despite this information, TransUnion placed a notice on Cortez’s credit report stating “input name matches name on the OFAC database.”
The court was clear about TransUnion’s responsibility in the matter and noted that the OFAC information is no different from that received from creditors or public record and credit agencies. The court also said credit reporting agencies are responsible for ensuring that the information is correct.
In the written opinion of the case, the court noted that “Congress clearly intended to ensure that credit reporting agencies exercise care when deciding to associate information with a given consumer, and the record clearly supports the jury’s determination that TransUnion did not exercise sufficient care here.”
♦ Snapshot of TransUnion Web site