Attorney Published Article
Maine Court Rules FCRA Preempts State Credit Reporting Law
On October 8, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine held in Consumer Data Industry Association v. Frey that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) preempted two amendments to the Maine Fair Credit Reporting Act (“Maine FCRA”). The amendments modified the Maine FCRA by placing restrictions on when medical debt may be included in a consumer report and requiring consumer reporting agencies to reinvestigate debt (and potentially remove the debt from the consumer report) if a consumer gave evidence that the debt was the product of “economic abuse.”
Under section 1681t(b) of the FCRA, no requirement or prohibition may be imposed under the laws of any State with respect to any subject matter regulated under section 1681c of the FCRA, relating to information contained in consumer reports. The court noted that section 1681t has eleven “subject matters” regulated under sections of the FCRA that are reserved to the federal government. The court found that the structure of FCRA sections 1681c(a) and 1681t(b) reflect an “affirmative choice by Congress to set “uniform federal standards” regarding the information contained in consumer credit reports. The court therefore struck the Maine amendments since they intruded upon a subject matter which Congress has sought to expressly preempt.
Reprinted with permission from the American Bar Association’s Business Law Today October Month-In-Brief: Business Regulation & Regulated Industries.