U.S. Supreme Court

Credit Ruling Could Benefit Retailers

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday favoring two insurers on an interpretation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act could help businesses in related lawsuits.

The court ruled in favor of Geico General Insurance Co. and Safeco Corp., saying they can’t be liable for violating the law without a showing they had a reckless disregard of their duties. The plaintiffs had contended the companies failed to send notices to consumers that they had hiked rates based on credit reports.

The decision could affect related lawsuits against retailers that claim they willfully violated the law by including too much information on receipts, according to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

A lawyer for merchants, Anita Boomstein, told the newspaper that her clients’ actions were not reckless and could be insulated from liability by yesterday’s decision.

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