Logourl black
From our private database of 14,200+ case briefs...

Safeco Insurance Co. of America et al. v. Burr et al.

United States Supreme Court
551 U.S. 47 (2007)


Facts

Safeco Insurance Company of America (Safeco) (plaintiff) relied on consumer-credit reports to determine the initial premiums charged to consumers. Based on the credit report that Safeco received for Charles Burr (defendant), Safeco charged Burr a higher rate than the best rate that was possible for someone who was insured by Safeco. Safeco did not notify Burr that in setting the premium, Safeco was taking an adverse action against Burr. Burr joined a class-action suit against Safeco, alleging that Safeco had willfully violated provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (Act), 15 U.S.C. §1681m(a), which required any individual or entity taking an adverse action based on a consumer’s credit report to notify the consumer of the action taken. Burr sought statutory and punitive damages based on 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a), which provided that if the individual or entity taking the adverse action willfully failed to provide notice to the consumer, the consumer could recover actual, statutory, and punitive damages. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Safeco, holding that an initial determination of an insurance rate, such as the determination made by Safeco regarding Burr, was not adverse because an adverse action required a change or increase from a prior decision. The court of appeals reversed, finding that the adverse-notice requirement also applied to the setting of an initial insurance rate. The court of appeals further determined that the term “willful,” as used in § 1681n(a), included violations made with reckless disregard of the Act’s requirement. Based on this definition, the court of appeals found that Safeco’s conduct was willful. The United States Supreme Court grated certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 251,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,200 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.