Travis S. Souza

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date




Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


In a recent decision, the United States Supreme Court resolved a critical dispute regarding the interpretation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") and its notice requirement. In Safeco Ins. Co. of America v. Burr, the Court settled the definition of "willful" violation, a determination that will have enormous effects for insurance companies. Specifically, the Court held that willfulness not only includes knowing violations, but also includes a violation committed in reckless disregard of statutory obligations. While both of the insurance companies in Burr were technically victorious -- both were held not to have willfully violated the FCRA -- the Court's interpretation of willfulness is more consumer-friendly. Still, Burr may have left the door open for insurance companies to avoid the notice requirement of the FCRA.