Equifax Inc. has hired King & Spalding to represent it in consumer litigation cases, shifting the work from Kilpatrick Stockton.
Neither the company nor King & Spalding would say how much the business is worth. Plaintiffs’ attorneys who have sued Equifax on behalf of consumers said the credit-reporting company is sued hundreds of times a year by consumers who claim they have been damaged by errors on their credit reports.
King & Spalding partners Barry Goheen and S. Stewart Haskins II and associate Misty M. Speake will have primary responsibility for the Equifax account, Goheen said.
Goheen declined to discuss the law firm’s arrangement with Equifax or the value of the business relationship. Goheen said King & Spalding was hired after responding to a request-for-proposal from Equifax.
Equifax spokesman David Rubinger said the hire of King & Spalding was part of “our normal business process of assessing our various work.” He declined to comment on why Equifax hired King & Spalding. Kilpatrick Stockton continues to perform “corporate and other litigation” work for Equifax and will be considered for future assignments, Rubinger said.
“Equifax remains a very large, valued, important client of the firm,” said Kilpatrick Stockton partner William E. Dorris, head of the firm’s litigation practice group.
Equifax had been represented by Kilpatrick Stockton in these types of cases since 1996. Kilpatrick Stockton partners Mara McRae, Cindy D. Hanson, Audra A. Dial and A. Stephens Clay, and associates Lewis P. Perling and John J. Friedline are some of the firm’s attorneys who had represented Equifax.
King & Spalding may have had an inroad to Equifax because it has previously represented personal-information collector ChoicePoint Inc. of Alpharetta, said David A. Szwak, a Shreveport, La., attorney who has sued Equifax. ChoicePoint was spun off from Equifax in 1997.
Goheen declined to comment on whether King & Spalding continues to represent ChoicePoint.
Consumer cases brought against Equifax deal with a number of complaints, said Decatur attorney Gary J. Leshaw, who has sued Equifax on behalf of consumers. The cases deal with identify theft, mixing up an individual’s files with those of a person with a similar name, and reporting incorrect data, all of which can hurt an individual’s credit score. The cases are litigated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
“[Equifax is sued when] something shows up on your credit report that you’ve never heard of, you ask Equifax for a reinvestigation, and it’s not done properly and still shows up on your report,” Leshaw said.
Equifax typically settles consumer-litigation cases, paying plaintiffs in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 per case to settle, Szwak said. Less than 1 percent of the cases go to trial, he said.
Andy Peters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.