Wolfe v. MBNA America Bank
United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
485 F. Supp. 2d 874 (2007)
An identity thief applied for a credit card in Wolfe’s (plaintiff’s) name. MBNA America Bank (defendant) issued the card and mailed it out, even though Wolfe never lived at the address the identity thief provided. After the identity thief ran up $864, exceeding the card’s $500 limit, the bank turned the account over to collections. Wolfe told the bank his identity had been stolen, but the bank reported the debt as Wolfe’s to credit reporting agencies. The negative effects on Wolfe’s credit score prevented another bank from hiring him. When Wolfe continued to dispute the debt, the bank sent a notice of arbitration to the address supplied by the identity thief, resulting in an arbitration award against Wolfe. Wolfe sued the bank, claiming it had a duty (1) to verify the accuracy of the credit-card application before issuing credit in his name and (2) to investigate before turning the account over for collection and reporting it to credit reporting agencies. The bank moved to dismiss, arguing it had no duty to prevent the criminal acts of third parties.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Donald, J.)
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