made in accessing Ali's address information. Because the record does not clearly reflect the circumstances regarding Ali, a question of fact exists as to whether defendants accessed his address information under false pretenses. Accordingly, both parties' motions for summary judgment as to Ali are denied.
Defendants claim they had a legitimate business purpose, as that term is used in § 1681b(3)(E) of the FCRA, for accessing Ramsaroop's credit report. No reasonable jury could reach that conclusion given the law and the facts of this case.
Ramsaroop's credit report was not issued for a credit, licensing, employment, or insurance purpose. Indeed, at oral argument, defendants' counsel relied on only two of the five permissible uses set out in § 1681b(3), former subsections (D) and (E).
Subsection (D) concerns use of a consumer report "in connection with a determination of the consumer's eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a government instrumentality . . . ." This subsection has no applicability to this case and defendants' reliance on it is completely misplaced. Subsection (E) concerns using a credit report for a "legitimate business need." This subsection relates "only to those transactions in which there is a 'consumer relationship' between the requesting party and the subject of the report or in which the subject was seeking some benefit mentioned in the Act (credit insurance, employment, licensing) from the requesting party." Boothe v. TRW Credit Data, 557 F. Supp. 66, 70 (S.D.N.Y. 1982) (citation omitted). Because it is clear that Ramsaroop was not seeking some benefit mentioned in the FCRA, the only question is whether there was a consumer relationship between the parties. The undisputed facts in this case clearly demonstrate that the relationship between these parties was not a 'consumer relationship' because Ramsaroop's credit worthiness was not an issue.
Defendants claim that the mere presence of a landlord-tenant relationship permits a landlord to access a tenant's credit report. Even though there is support for the proposition that landlords do have legitimate business needs to access credit information on prospective tenants or for lease renewal purposes (see, e.g., Defs. Reply Affirmation Exh. B), there is simply no support for the claim defendants make here because Ramsaroop was entitled to lease renewal without regard to her credit worthiness.
Vikar certified to TRW in its subscriber agreement that it would request and use credit information solely in connection with credit transactions or other "permissible purposes" as defined by the FCRA. Vikar further certified that it would request and use information from TRW solely in connection with transactions involving the consumer. Vikar clearly failed to abide by these certifications.
Defendants accessed Ramsaroop's credit report without having any credit purpose in so doing and without disclosing that fact. Thus, defendants acquired Ramsaroop's credit report under false pretenses and in clear violation of its subscriber agreement with TRW. See Boothe, 557 F. Supp. at 70.
Defendants violated §§ 1681n and 1681q of the FCRA, as well as § 380-o and § 380-l of New York's General Business Law, by accessing Ramsaroop's credit report and no reasonable jury could conclude otherwise.
For the reasons stated herein, plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and defendants' motion is denied.
Dated: New York, New York
February 19, 1998
United States District Judge