Home  ~  Steven M. Fahlgren  Mediation Services  ~  Articles  In The News  Resources  ~  Contact Us


Attorney Steven M. Fahlgren In The News

Jacksonville Attorney - Lawyer, providing experienced Consumer Protection, Family Law, Estate Law, Employment Law, Business Law, and Bankruptcy Law legal representation in Jacksonville, Hilliard, Duval County, Nassau County and the surrounding Northeast Florida areas.

Woman wins historic jury verdict from Equifax

The credit-reporting group failed to fix egregious errors.



Angela P. Williams says she got nothing but a runaround from Equifax as she tried for more than a decade to clear up an identity mix-up that ruined her credit. Now she’s hitting the credit-reporting giant where it hurts: on the bottom line.

An Orlando jury awarded Williams a multimillion-dollar verdict against Equifax for years of failing to correct dramatic errors in Williams’ credit report that led to her credit score being trashed.

Atlanta-based Equifax must pay the medical-transcription worker $219,000 in actual damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages for negligent violation of federal credit reporting laws, according to the verdict Friday in state Circuit Court in Orlando.

It is the largest punitive-damages award ever against Equifax, which would not comment on the case. An appeal is expected.

Williams, who recently moved from Brevard County to the Jacksonville area, said she was surprised but gratified by the decision.

“This has been a nightmare,” she said Monday. “It’s not so much about the money, but about the punishment. I know I’m not the only one that has gone through this. But people need to know their rights. They need to check their credit report and try to be in charge of their credit history.”

The verdict was a big vote of confidence for people who wrestle with a flawed credit-reporting system and take on big corporations that refuse to acknowledge mistakes, said Steven Fahlgren, a Florida-based consumer lawyer who represents Williams.

“We’ve fought this battle for years, and, despite all the evidence, Equifax denied almost until the end that there were any mistakes in my client’s credit file,” he said. “But I’m so proud that the jury saw the evidence for what it was. This is a great victory for consumers.”

At trial, her lawyers — including co-counsel Robert Sola of Portland, Ore. — showed how Equifax repeatedly confused Williams with someone who had a similar name but whose credit file was rife with bad debt.

Though Williams disputed and debunked the errors numerous times, Equifax kept passing along the false information, ruining her credit, she testified. After eight years of trying to resolve the issue, she sued the company in 2003. Two earlier defendants — Experian and American Recovery Systems — settled the case out of court.

In the meantime, Williams, 37, who works for Orlando Foot & Ankle Clinic, from the Jacksonville area, was denied student loans, credit-card accounts, ATM cards and other financial applications, she said. She also couldn’t apply for a mortgage, fearing more recurrence of the credit problems.

“When this all began [in 1994], I didn’t realize it would be years until things got straightened out,” she said. “But now I still don’t have the confidence to go and apply for credit. I’m scared of the denials. And I’m a little leery of the credit-reporting agencies. I don’t trust them.”

There has been a spate of consumer cases against the largest credit-reporting operations in recent years, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in judgments, said Evan Hendricks, publisher of Privacy Times, a newsletter that tracks such issues.

Too often, people have been victimized by the companies’ streamlined, automated process of “investigating” alleged credit-file errors, he said. The process is set up to save money and boost profits rather than protect consumers, said Hendricks, an author who testified in the Williams case.

“If the Williams judgment gets reduced — as many of them do on appeal — it could be seen by the company as just a cost of doing business and no real reason to change,” he said. “But if it is upheld, it is a robust notice that what they were doing isn’t good enough. And finally after all these years, they may agree to some common sense changes to avoid this sort of thing.”

As for Williams, she’s just not convinced it is all over.

“I’m not sure this will bring resolution,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of confidence especially in Equifax, after so many years of having problems. I’m just not confident that I won’t have to go through this again.”

Richard Burnett can be reached at 407-420-5256 or


See the Article as it appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, November 4th, 2007

Article Page 1   ~   Article Page 2

If you require professional legal services regarding Consumer Protection, Family Law, Estate Law, Employment Law, Business Law, and Bankruptcy Law issues, be proactive in protecting your legal rights by seeking the legal advice of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney & lawyer. Contact The Law Offices of Steven M. Fahlgren, P.A., by calling 904.845.2255.

Jacksonville Attorney - Lawyer, providing experienced Consumer Protection, Family Law, Estate Law, Employment Law, Business Law, and Bankruptcy Law legal representation in Jacksonville, Hilliard, Duval County, Nassau County and the surrounding Northeast Florida areas.



Home  ~  Steven M. Fahlgren  ~  Contact Us  ~  Consumer Protection  ~  Automobile Sales Fraud  ~  Consumer Lending Act Violation  ~  Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices  ~  Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations  ~  Fair Debt Collection Practices Act  ~  False Advertising Claims  ~  Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act Violations  ~  Fraud and Warranty Claims  ~  Home Solicitation Sales Contracts  ~  Lemon Law Claims  ~  Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Claims  ~  Florida's Motor Vehicle Repair Act Claims  ~  Wrongful Repossessions  ~  Truth in Lending Act Violations  ~  Estate Law  ~  Estate Planning  ~  Estate Administration  ~  Last Will and Testament  ~  Living Will  ~  Power of Attorney  ~  Guardianship  ~  Trusts  ~  Probate  ~  Business Law  ~  Business Formation - Incorporation  ~  Business Contracts  ~  Civil Litigation  ~  Business Property and Leasing  ~  Family Law  ~   Divorce  ~  Child Custody  ~  Child Support  ~  Child Paternity  ~  Father's Rights  ~  Divorce and Family Law Mediation  ~  Post Judgment Modification  ~  Marital Agreement  ~  Alimony  ~  Marital Property  ~  Domestic Injunction  ~  Relative Child Adoption  ~  Employment and Labor Law  ~  Age Discrimination  ~  Employment Agreements  ~  Family and Medical Leave Act  ~  Gender Discrimination  ~  Non-Compete Agreement  ~  Overtime Pay  ~  Pregnancy Discrimination  ~  Race Discrimination  ~  Religious Discrimination  ~  Sexual Harassment  ~  Severance Agreements  ~  Unpaid Wages  ~  Whistleblower Claims  ~  Workplace Retaliation  ~  Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)  ~  Mediation  ~  Science and Technology  ~  Bankruptcy  ~  Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  ~  Chapter 13 Bankruptcy  ~  Articles  ~ 

DISCLAIMER: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask the lawyer to send you free written information about their qualifications and experience. This website has been prepared for informational purposes only and not as legal advice.  Neither the transmission, nor your receipt of information from this website creates an attorney-client relationship, which can only be formed in writing between you and the attorney you choose to represent you.

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.  Steven M. Fahlgren.       Website Design by: Tiger Paw Media