Supreme Court rules against identity theft victim

By Gina Holland

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled today against a California woman whose identity was stolen, closing the door on late lawsuits over credit reporting problems.

The 9-0 decision, the first of the court’s term, strips Adelaide Andrews of the right to sue a former credit reporting agency for giving out her private information. Her attorney argued that the lawsuit was late because she didn’t find out right away about the reporting activities.

Among other action today, the court:

  • Ordered that former President Clinton’s name be removed from the roster of lawyers approved for practice at the high court. Clinton asked to resign from the Supreme Court bar last week, rather than fight suspension or disbarment related to the Paula Jones sexual harassment investigation.

  • Refused to consider changing Louisiana’s law that gives some grandparents court-ordered rights to see their grandchildren. The justices declined to review an appeal from a former oil-rig worker left to raise a 1-year-old daughter when his wife died of a brain tumor. The man argued that his late wife’s family was trying to be a parent to his child.

  • Declined to spell out what school districts must do to accommodate emotionally troubled children. Justices refused to review a case that asked whether Congress intended special help for a student who used drugs and caused problems in his high school.

  • Refused to reinstate a libel case against the Russian daily newspaper Novoye Russkoye Slovo. Lev Navrozov sued the newspaper after he was the subject of columns published in the paper’s opinion section in 1996.

    In the stolen identity case, justices rejected arguments that victims need extra time to sue over damaged credit, but said Congress could reconsider the subject.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said from the bench that Congress imposed a two-year limitation on cases that accuse companies of violating a federal fair credit reporting law,

    “Courts have no warrant to enlarge the exceptions absent a green light turned on by the legislature,” she said.

    Andrews’ identity was stolen by a receptionist at a doctor’s office, her lawyers said. Andrews sued TRW in 1996 for disclosing her credit reports in 1994 and wrongly including a transaction by the impostor in her credit report.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Andrews could sue TRW because the time limit for the case didn’t start until she discovered a problem.

    The Supreme Court, which overturned that, had been told by industry attorneys that companies could not keep records indefinitely in anticipation of lawsuits.

    Consumer advocates, who supported Andrews, argued that the fear of successful lawsuits would force the agencies to police their information more closely and catch identity thieves. The Bush administration also sided with Andrews.

    At least 20 percent of victims of identity theft do not find out about the theft within two years, federal statistics show.

    Congress was told this spring that identity theft has become a national crisis. The number of people victimized may be as high as 750,000 a year, privacy advocates have said.

    The case is TRW v. Andrews, 00-1045.

    Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

  • More in Local News

    Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

    Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

    A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

    Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

    The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
    Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

    The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

    Mountlake Terrace Mayor Kyko Matsumoto-Wright on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    With light rail coming soon, Mountlake Terrace’s moment is nearly here

    The anticipated arrival of the northern Link expansion is another sign of a rapidly changing city.

    Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
    1 dead in motorcycle crash on Highway 522 in Maltby

    Authorities didn’t have any immediate details about the crash that fully blocked the highway Friday afternoon.

    Photographs in the 2024 Annual Black and White Photography Contest on display at the Schack Art Center on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Black and white photos aren’t old school for teens at Schack Art Center

    The photography contest, in its 29th year, had over 170 entries. See it at the Schack in Everett through May 5.

    A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Everett mom charged with first-degree murder in death of son, 4

    On Friday, prosecutors charged Janet Garcia, 27, three weeks after Ariel Garcia went missing from an Everett apartment.

    Dr. Mary Templeton (Photo provided by Lake Stevens School District)
    Lake Stevens selects new school superintendent

    Mary Templeton, who holds the top job in the Washougal School District, will take over from Ken Collins this summer.

    A closed road at the Heather Lake Trail parking lot along the Mountain Loop Highway in Snohomish County, Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Mountain Loop Highway partially reopens Friday

    Closed since December, part of the route to some of the region’s best hikes remains closed due to construction.

    Emma Dilemma, a makeup artist and bikini barista for the last year and a half, serves a drink to a customer while dressed as Lily Munster Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, at XO Espresso on 41st Street in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    After long legal battle, Everett rewrites bikini barista dress code

    Employees now have to follow the same lewd conduct laws as everyone else, after a judge ruled the old dress code unconstitutional.

    The oldest known meteor shower, Lyrid, will be falling across the skies in mid- to late April 2024. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)
    Clouds to dampen Lyrid meteor shower views in Western Washington

    Forecasters expect a storm will obstruct peak viewing Sunday. Locals’ best chance at viewing could be on the coast. Or east.

    AquaSox's Travis Kuhn and Emerald's Ryan Jensen an hour after the game between the two teams on Sunday continue standing in salute to the National Anthem at Funko Field on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    New AquaSox stadium downtown could cost up to $120M

    That’s $40 million more than an earlier estimate. Alternatively, remodeling Funko Field could cost nearly $70 million.

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.