Knowledge is power, and a credit report is a great way to obtain knowledge. An attorney could gain useful information from a credit report when preparing for litigation, especially in determining who to sue or whether to sue. However, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("ECRA" or "Act"), an attorney may face punitive damages if he or she uses a credit report in a manner that is not authorized by the FCRA. This is exactly what happened to an Arkansas attorney who, while aggressively representing her clients, obtained credit reports on the opposing party. She could have avoided the imposed damages-both actual and punitive-had she been aware of the permissible purposes for obtaining a credit report under the FCRA. However, she is not alone. There are many attorneys who are unaware of what they can and cannot do under the FCRA.z
Matthew S. Criscimagna,
Attorneys Beware: Obtaining Credit Reports on Opposing Party May Lead to Punitive Damages,
64 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol64/iss4/9