In Ritchie v. Northern Leasing Systems, Plaintiff alleged twelve “myriad causes of action” ranging from civil RICO claims to federal fair credit statutes arising from Plaintiff’s lease of certain business equipment from Defendants.  Plaintiff Patricia Ritchie applied for credit card processing services and a credit card machine for her business through a company called Merchant Made Easy (“MME”).  MME provided the lease to Defendants Lease Financing Group (“LFG”) and Northern Leasing Systems (“Northern”).  After receiving the lease, Northern and LFG requested and obtained Ritchie’s credit report from Experian.  Ritchie subsequently stopped operating her business and stopped making payments on the equipment.  After Ritchie’s default, Defendants again accessed her credit report from a credit reporting agency (“CRA”).   

Ritchie sued, claiming, in part, that Defendants violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by accessing her credit report without a permissible purpose.  However, the District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Ritchie’s argument on summary judgment, finding that “the undisputed evidence demonstrates that defendants intended to use plaintiff’s credit information for a permissible purpose each time they pulled her report.”  Specifically, Defendants used Ritchie’s credit report for pricing the lease and attempting to collect on her account. 

Ritchie also alleged that Defendants violated their duties as furnishers under the FCRA.  She claimed that Defendants failed to investigate after they received her letter disputing that her lease was paid and closed satisfactorily.  However, the evidence did not show that the CRA to whom Ritchie sent her letter ever forwarded the letter to Defendants – a “crucial step” that is required to trigger liability.  When the CRA did finally send a notice of the dispute, Defendants met their obligation and verified that Ritchie was disputing her account.   

In sum, the Court wholly rejected both of Plaintiff’s FCRA claims.