Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.
284.42 sec. 001 - Credit Reporting and Economic Justice (Spring 2023)
Instructor: Erika Heath (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person
W 10:00 AM - 11:10 AM
Location: Law 240
From January 11, 2023
To March 15, 2023
Course End: March 15, 2023
Class Number: 32525
This course is open to 1Ls.
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM
Your personal history resides in accessible databases. Prospective landlords know where you have lived. Credit card companies can monitor the payment history of your financial accounts. Potential employers see whether you have ever been convicted of a crime. How? Credit reports.
Credit reports are the key to access much of today’s economy. To a large extent, they dictate who has access to consumer credit, banking, insurance, housing, and even employment. They contain a staggering amount of information about almost every American. And yet it can be extraordinarily difficult to find out exactly what information about you is out there and who has it. Moreover, the vast electronic collection of this information raises a number of concerns about accuracy, privacy, and systemic inequities.
The three big credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) maintain credit files on over 200 million adults, and provide information on over 1.3 billion consumer credit accounts every month. Beyond the “big three,” hundreds of smaller and lesser-known agencies assemble and sell millions of consumer reports. These reports generally contain far more than simple account performance; they may also include employment history, prior addresses, criminal records, insurance claims, prescription drug information, and even vehicle tracking information.
This course will explore the regulatory environment, and underlying policy questions, regarding the collection, storage, and accessibility of this data. It will examine the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and its state analogs. The course will also analyze how the regulatory environment is changing - and how it might be further changed - in response to the proliferation of consumer reports into new settings and the explosion in the types and extent of data they contain. We will cover (among other things) reporting issues related to transgender consumers; recent eviction masking efforts in states like California, Illinois, and Maine; employment reentry with criminal records and wrongful convictions; data privacy online; credit file “mixing”; and new legislative tools such as the CARES Act to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer credit reporting.
The course will be taught by a consumer rights attorney with experience as both a legal aid lawyer and a private practitioner.
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