Victory for Small Businesses Accusing Dun & Bradstreet of Defamation

Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss Class Action

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| Source: Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC

CLEVELAND, Jan. 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- United States District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly of the Western District of Washington has ruled that a class action lawsuit against Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) will go forward. The lawsuit accuses Dun & Bradstreet of orchestrating a scheme to falsify credit reports in order to defame and cause significant harm to small businesses. Judge Zilly denied Dun & Bradstreet's motion to throw the case out of court in his recent order after hearing argument from the attorneys on January 9, 2014.

"The case is built upon evidence drawn from the experience of businesses across the country who found themselves with consistently false and inaccurate information placed on their D&B credit reports. When confronted by affected businesses, D&B refuses to identify the sources of such false information and instead directs customers to buy a product called 'Creditbuilder,' from the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. (DBCC), to improve their credit reputation," said the plaintiff's attorney Jack Landskroner, from the Cleveland, Ohio-based law firm, Landskroner Grieco Merriman. "But at a cost," adds Landskroner.

"Access to credit is the lifeline for small business and the implications of false and inaccurate data on a credit report can ruin a company," said attorney Chris Collins, a partner at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd in San Diego, California, who also represents the plaintiff in the case; O & R Construction. O & R is a small Seattle-based construction company owned by a husband and wife who found and subsequently challenged false information on their credit report. The false report was eventually removed but not before damage was done to their business, according to the original complaint. The class action lawsuit was filed against both Dun & Bradstreet and the spin-off corporation, DBCC. The suit claims that "D&B is manipulating thousands of unsuspecting small businesses across the country in this manner."

Although the most recent Amended Complaint filed in Case No. 2:12-cv-02184 has been filed under seal, documents previously filed in the case outline how the purported scam is played out. D&B sold off a line of its business self-awareness products to DBCC in 2010 to market a credit repair service called "Credit Builder." Small companies pay $799 to $1599 per year to correct alleged errors in the D&B credit database, to add positive references to their D&B file, and to improve their D&B credit score. DBCC claims it "provides the only real solution available to companies looking to monitor and impact their business credit profile." "In reality, the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is the marketing end of the operation which leverages the false D&B data to make the sale," said attorney Collins. After D&B places erroneous information on a company's credit report, the telemarketers at DBCC pressure small business owners to pay up to remedy the impact of the falsified reports created by D&B.

"This is a nationwide shakedown," said attorney Landskroner. "Business owners feel like the guy who lit their building on fire is now trying to sell them a water hose."

Before spinning off the Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. in 2010, D&B was sued for using high pressure, bait-and-switch tactics to market a similar credit monitoring product called "Self Awareness Solutions." "The only thing that has really changed is that now there is a go between company doing the arm-twisting," said attorney Collins.

To learn more about the case or to provide information about D&B or DBCC, go to dandblawsuit.com or dandblitigation@gmail.com.

Attorney Jack Landskroner

(216) 522-9000