by Aaron D. Johnson
Equifax is one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies in the United States. It is actually the oldest. It gathers and maintains and maintains information on over 400 million people worldwide.
A jury has awarded Julie Miller of Marion County, Oregon $18.4 million in punitive damages and $180,000 in compensatory damages in an award against the credit bureau.
Compensatory damages attempt to make a victim whole again from their losses due to a defendant’s actions, but punitive damages are imposed to punish a defendant who acted maliciously or with wanton recklessness in causing injuries to the plaintiff.
Mrs. Miller attempted to make the company aware that the social security number and birthday attached to her account was incorrect but these discrepancies went unchanged. She also complained about erroneous collection accounts and judgments but to no avail.
Overall Julie Miller tried eight times to get her credit report corrected. After persistently contacting Equifax over the course of two years, Mrs. Miller was told by a representative that her information was merged with someone else’s and that she should go to the specific creditors individually.
After years of frustration and getting nowhere with the credit monitoring giant, she took action. Mrs. Miller brought suit against the company in October of 2011
One of the attorneys representing Miller, Justin Baxter says, Miller’s failure to qualify for credit cost her several ways. More specifically, she wasn’t able to help her brother, who is disabled and who wasn’t able to get credit on his own. She was also unable to help her husband, who needed a shop added onto the Miller’s home.
Baxter tells ABC News: “She did what you’re supposed to do. She didn’t go running straight to the courthouse.” Instead, he says, she tried and tried again to get Equifax to fix its mistakes.
It looks like diligence paid off for Julie Miller.