US-Strafschadensersatz soll grundsätzlich den nachgewiesen Schaden um nicht mehr als das Neunfache überschreiten dürfen.; Punitives Can Only Exceed Compensatories by 9-1 Ratio, Court Says. Slashing a jury’s punitive award of $500,000 down to $270,000, a federal judge has ruled that the constitutional maximum for punitive awards is ordinarily no more than nine times the compensatory award — even in cases where the defendant is a repeat violator. In his 22-page opinion in Dixon-Rollins v. TransUnion , U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage was harshly critical of the credit reporting agency, noting that it has repeatedly violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to investigate complaints of wrong information on credit reports.

As a result, Savage said the evidence supported a punitive award at the highest level allowed under recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. But since the jury’s compensatory award was just $30,000, Savage said, the maximum punitive award would be $270,000.

“TransUnion had been warned repeatedly that its reinvestigation obligation in verifying a disputed account requires more than parroting the original source’s response. Nevertheless, it continues to ignore these judicial edicts and refuses to change the way it does business,” Savage wrote.

“This refusal to follow judicial direction convinces us that ‘strong medicine is required to cure the defendant’s disrespect for the law,’” Savage wrote, quoting from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1996 ruling in BMW of North America Inc. v. Gore .

In a separate, 17-page opinion, Savage awarded the plaintiff more than $110,000 in attorney fees and costs.

In the suit, plaintiff Carmen Dixon-Rollins claimed that TransUnion ignored her repeated complaints about an error on her credit report stemming from a dispute with a landlord.

TransUnion argued that it investigated the complaint and that the landlord confirmed that the debt remained unpaid ...

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