OOIDA vs. DAC: Court rules that motor carriers are 'consumer reporting agencies'

| 3/11/2005

On March 7 the Federal District Court in Denver, CO, ruled that when submitting termination record forms to DAC, motor carriers are “consumer reporting agencies” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The ruling was part of its decision on DAC’s motion to dismiss portions of OOIDA’s complaint against it. It granted DAC’s motion in part, and denied it in part.

In favor of DAC, it ruled that equitable remedies are not available under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to private litigants. It thus ruled that OOIDA and the individual plaintiffs are not entitled to seek an injunction, a declaratory judgment, or disgorgement of ill-gotten profits. This ruling was in accord with the opinions of the majority of courts which have considered the issue.

The court upheld the right of drivers to seek damages, costs, attorney fees and, in the case of willful violations, punitive damages for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Also in favor of OOIDA, the court stated that when submitting to DAC termination record forms, “Clearly, the employer motor carriers are consumer reporting agencies under ... (the) expansive definition (of consumer reporting agency in the Fair Credit Reporting Act). OOIDA alleges in its complaint that because motor carriers are “consumer reporting agencies,” DAC was barred from receiving termination record forms without first obtaining the permission of the drivers who were their subject, something it apparently has rarely or never done.

Now that the court has ruled upon DAC’s motion to dismiss, DAC will file a formal answer to the complaint. That answer will frame the issues for further discovery, more motions and for trial.