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IN RE CREDIT INFORMATION CORP.

October 4, 1978

Application of CREDIT INFORMATION CORPORATION OF NEW YORK to Quash a Grand Jury Subpoena for the Production of Credit Records


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WARD

Credit Information Corporation of New York ("CIC") moves to quash a grand jury subpoena duces tecum served upon it. For the reasons hereinafter stated, the motion is granted.

The issue the Court has been asked to resolve on this motion is whether a grand jury subpoena is a court order within the meaning of § 604 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 Et seq. ("the Act"). The Act, promulgated in 1970, was intended to protect consumers from unfair practices arising from the rapidly-growing credit reporting industry by providing them with the opportunity to correct inaccurate information in their credit files, preserving the confidentiality of such information and preventing undue invasions of their right to privacy. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. § 1681(a)(3), (4) & (b); *fn1" 116 Cong.Rec. 35941 (1970) (remarks of Sen. Proxmire); Report of the Committee on Banking and Currency, Fair Credit Reporting, Sen.Rep. No. 91-517, 91st Cong., 1st Sess. at 1-2 (1969).

In furtherance of these purposes, § 604 of the Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681b, limits the access of third-parties to consumer reports as follows:

 
A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:
 
(1) In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order.
 
(2) In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.
 
(3) To a person which it has reason to believe
 
(A) intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer; or
 
(B) intends to use the information for employment purposes; or
 
(C) intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer; or
 
(D) intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer's eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant's financial responsibility or status; or
 
(E) otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information in connection with a business transaction involving the consumer.

 Failure to comply with this section may subject a consumer reporting agency to both civil and criminal penalties. See §§ 616, 620, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n, 1681r.

 CIC is a consumer reporting agency subject to the provisions of the Act. On August 7, 1978, it was served with a grand jury subpoena duces tecum requiring it to appear before a federal grand jury in this district and to produce records, correspondence and documents relating to the extension of credit to two named consumers over the period January 1, 1972 to the present. CIC refused to produce the information sought by the grand jury and instead made the instant motion to quash the subpoena on ...


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