As lead class counsel in a certified class action seeking damages and equitable relief for identity theft, invasion of privacy and credit defamation, Elliott Greenleaf won $2,450,000 for victims of identity theft and invasion of privacy. In the largest reported settlement of a federal class action for identity theft, this tentative settlement also won equitable relief for identity theft concerning bogus automobile loans. Ciccarone v. B.J. Marchese, Inc. et al., C.A. No. 03-1660 (E.D.Pa.)
On the eve of trial, this settlement’s relief includes requiring banks and credit reporting agencies to permanently delete the wrong credit information from the credit reports and bank records, and to transfer the title of the “traded-in” cars to the proper owner. It also provides monetary damages of $2,450,000 as compensation for credit damage, to correct title on cars, and to repair the ongoing damage to consumer credit caused by this invasion of privacy and identity theft.
Elliott Greenleaf filed this class action in the Untied States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 19, 2003 seeking relief for harm to credit, loss of loans, and increased interest rates on consumers’ credit cards against the car dealerships that placed 168 loans in plaintiffs’ names without their knowledge, and failed to pay off loans on cars traded in the car dealership. This identity theft resulted in damages to consumers’ credit, persons driving in the vehicles not titled in their name after they paid for the car, and persons having title to cars after they traded in the car two or three years ago.
This case raises important issues of identity theft and credit impairment in a rapidly developing area of harm to consumers. The terms of the settlement will be set forth in a class notice after it is approved by Senior Judge Norma L. Shapiro.