GE Capital obtains summary judgment in lawsuit for defamation and intentional and negligent interference with business relations
Clients General Electric Company
Jones Day represented General Electric Capital Corporation ("GE Capital") in summary judgment proceedings in connection with a lawsuit brought by Professional Recovery Services ("PRS"). PRS, a third-party debt collector, brought claims against GE Capital for defamation, tortious interference with business relations, breach of contract, and negligence concerning GE Capital's decision to alert two at-risk financial institutions of allegations that PRS employees were engaging in widespread identity theft of confidential consumer financial information. Jones Day argued that PRS' tort claims failed because GE Capital's conduct was appropriate and supported by a qualified privilege.
Judge Jerome B. Simandle of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted GE Capital summary judgment on all counts. Judge Simandle agreed that credit providers such as GE Capital must be permitted to engage in self-regulation without fear of defamation liability. GE Capital's conduct was justified and in the public interest since fraud investigators at GE Capital had a practical and legal duty to prevent identity theft and report relevant information to other credit providers who also had accounts in jeopardy. Moreover, the court refused to allow PRS to resuscitate its failed defamation claim through the assertion of derivative negligence, tortious interference, and breach of contract claims.
Professional Recovery Services, Inc. v. General Electric Capital Corp., Case No. 1:06-CV-02829 (D.N.J. June 16, 2009)