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Stergiopoulos v. First Midwest Bancorp, Inc., 427 F.3d 1043 (7th Cir. 2005)

In this case, VBLH&C successfully defended an industry-wide practice involving financing of automobile purchases.  The case arose when the plaintiffs sought to finance the purchase of cars.  The car dealerships, in turn, sought financing from the defendant and several other potential financing sources by offering to sell the defendant the retail installment contracts for the cars.  In determining whether to provide financing and purchase the subject retail installment contracts, the defendant pulled the plaintiffs’ credit reports without direct authorization from the plaintiffs.  The plaintiffs sued, arguing that, by viewing their credit reports without their express permission, the defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  VBLH&C successfully argued otherwise.  In particular, VBLH&C argued that, by requesting the plaintiffs’ credit reports for the purpose of determining whether to furnish the plaintiffs with credit, the defendant satisfied the FCRA requirement that it intended to use the information “in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer.”  This was so even if the plaintiffs had not directly sought financing from the defendant.  The district court granted summary judgment for VBLH&C’s client, and this determination was affirmed on appeal by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.