"state your name and address and it generates eight pages of lawsuit documentation in PDF form for you to print and file"
"Filing and winning a small claims case takes more than just filling in a form."
It's a story about a form.
When I looked into small claims court, in California. It was any claim <= 10k. You also needed to legally serve the defended with a non involved party.
That means for equifax, not being a california party, you gotta pay someone to send docs to their legal representation.
It appears to me that Equifax can be sued in California by serving their local representatives in Sacramento.
CORPORATION SERVICE COMPANY WHICH WILL DO BUSINESS IN CALIFORNIA AS CSC - LAWYERS INCORPORATING SERVICE
2710 GATEWAY OAKS DR STE 150N
SACRAMENTO CA 95833
Gee, I bet there isn't a conflict of interest in that statement.
That's not at all a value judgement about Public Citizen or their statement. Just pointing out the potential conflict.
The last thing anybody wants is for their profession to be automated away, so the conflict of interest is justified, but worth noting.
Also worth noting that you can still get paid if you work for a nonprofit.
Regardless, I think we could use a bit more automation in the legal field given how disproportionately distributed representation seems to be from my perspective as a relatively poor person.
On that, we're agreed. I was raised with no conception that there were legal options; attorneys were just too far outside the realm of affordability to be a thing my parents would have considered under any but the direst circumstances. I have the same mindset, even when it's been detrimental to my own economic situation.
An action under the FCRA may be brought in "any other court of competent jurisdiction", carries statutory damages of $1k for willful non-compliance, and allows the judge to assess arbitrary punitive damages. Given that you're likely the only person talking and that you'll be describing systemic issues which affected 143 million Americans, I think you should just ask the judge for the max and see what he says.
HNers are, by the way, likely to be well-served by small claims courts, just by dint of education, organizational ability, and ability to perform professionalism.
[+] 15 U.S. Code § 1681e(a) -- "Identity and purposes of credit users" requires "very consumer reporting agency shall maintain reasonable procedures designed to avoid [unauthorized disclosure of information]" Your argument, informally because small claims court, would be "If your procedures allow you to disclose credit information on 143 million people, your procedures are per se unreasonable."
Which is a problem. If that form were legally sound and the case solid, then there shouldn't be an issue...but, you're correct that there might well be. The legal system is somewhat deficient for the ordinary citizen. Or maybe I should say that the other way around.
From a practical perspective, though, there's just no way to litigate 100MM+ individual cases, which is why this will be a class action that will be settled. Lawyers will win and claimaints will see very little per.
The thing is that the potential damages could, in theory, far exceed the total value of Equifax or their ability to remunerate. True justice, then could never be fully served. That brings up an interesting point about the outsized risk some companies represent, with very little attendant oversight or regulation.
In general we seem to be asleep at the wheel. Whether it's Russian hacking, recent revelations about powergrid infiltration, data breaches, or all manner of online and technology-based fraud, there seems to be a vast under-appreciation for the stakes. There's talk about it, but relatively little progress is being made.
Person B then lies to judge about what he was doing and so the judge throws him in jail for 6 months for contempt.
The probable witness tampering probably had something to do with the harsh contempt punishment.
And if Equifax doesn't show up, you'll get a default judgment against them. Which doesn't mean you'll collect it but it would force Equifax to appeal to the court of common pleas.
I think this is more about killing Equifax through death from a thousand cuts. If 1% of the people impacted by this filed a small claims lawsuit, that's 1.43 million lawsuits against Equifax. What company could survive that?
The filing service needs to do more of the work, like shipping the paperwork off in bulk to a process server company to be formally delivered in daily batches.
Sure they can. If a suit is filed for $25K, do you really think Equifax cannot do the math of what a default judgment would cost? If all their attorneys are busy, they would hire more. Even if it had to be expensive temporary help, they would hire someone to show up.
Even better, what if every US HN user filed a small claims court case? I believe companies cannot hire lawyers to represent them there, they would need to send employees.
"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."
And also that their attorneys, and their attorneys' attorneys, and their attorneys' attorneys' attorneys are very busy right now.
I'd like lawyers to have inputs on this.
I do want to be part of the class action suit, even if it is only $15 (FB's settlement was $15 for all). The company must paid for its negligence, and I am happy to take $15 from them.
Normal rail's an option too but I've done the Coast Starlight and it took 12 hours to get here from Sactown.