A federal judge has reduced to $1.62 million the amount a jury had awarded an Oregon woman who spent years battling with Equifax.
The original amount, which totaled $18.6 million with punitive and compensatory damages combined, was handed down last July and was believed to be one of the largest granted to a consumer in a case against one of the nation's major credit bureaus.
The jury was told that Julie Miller contacted Equifax eight times between 2009 and 2011 to correct credit report inaccuracies, including erroneous accounts and collection attempts, as well as a wrong Social Security number and birthday. Her lawsuit alleged the Atlanta-based company failed to correct the mistakes.
Equifax appealed the jury's award in December, asking the judge to vastly reduce the punitive damages so they would match the $180,000 the plaintiff had received in compensatory damages.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Browns order wasnt surprising as courts generally have been moving toward punitive damages within a single-digit ratio of what was awarded in compensatory damages.
A Federal Trade Commission study last year of 1,001 consumers who reviewed 2,968 of their credit reports found 21% contained errors. The survey found that 5 percent of the errors represented issues that would lead consumers to be denied credit.