April 18, 2008

Faegre & Benson Wins Consumer Privacy Suit for Capital One

Faegre & Benson LLP achieved a total victory for client Capital One Bank in a consumer privacy case recently argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Affirming a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Seventh Circuit held that Capital One lawfully used available consumer credit information to offer a Visa card to the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. The court's decision ends the lawsuit and precludes any imposition of class action liability upon Capital One for this credit card solicitation.

The plaintiffs in Ilene L. Price, et al. v. Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. alleged that Capital One violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act's "firm offer" requirement by not disclosing a minimum line of credit in credit card offers that it made based on consumer credit information obtained from credit bureaus. Without the disclosure of a minimum credit line, plaintiffs argued, the offers did not provide sufficient value to consumers.

But the Seventh Circuit agreed with the Faegre & Benson defense team's arguments that a "firm offer" means only an offer that will be honored if the consumer meets the specified criteria, and that an offer need not independently satisfy a "value" test. The court further agreed that initial offers of credit need not include all credit terms that must be agreed upon before the credit is actually extended to the consumer.

Kara L.B. Barrow, a Faegre & Benson litigation partner, led the team representing Capital One in the district court. Aaron D. Van Oort, a partner who jointly heads the Faegre & Benson appellate litigation practice, led the team representing Capital One on appeal.

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