SunTrust denied the application for credit to purchase a boat made by the Trapps due to issues with Mr. Trapp’s Social Security number being linked to a deceased person. The Trapps brought suit under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C.A. §§ 1691 to 1691f.
While a party may have an actionable claim if he “ suffers a concrete informational injury where he is denied access to information required to be disclosed by statute, and he suffers, by being denied access to that information, the type of harm Congress sought to prevent by requiring disclosure” Dreher v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 856 F.3d 337, 343 (4th Cir. 2017), such injury must be real and not abstract. Since the Trapps were able to nonetheless buy the boat with cash, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court holding that, pursuant to Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016), there was only a “allegation of a bare procedural violation of the ECOA in which they suffered no concrete injury.”
Perhaps if the Trapps had been able to show that the use of cash to purchase the boat following the denial of credit had prevented them from otherwise using that cash more profitably, i.e. an investment with a higher rate of return than the interest rate charged by SunTrust, there could have been a showing of a concrete injury. Perhaps if this wasn’t a case about how the Trapps wanted to finance a boat, that would have helped too.
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