Caddell & Chapman attorneys Mike Caddell, Cynthia Chapman, Amy Tabor, and Ben Wickert, along with co-counsel Devin Fok of DHF Law, recently won certification of a class of more than 4,300 consumers whose background reports were sold to prospective employers by S2Verify, LLC. In certifying the class, Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California appointed Caddell & Chapman as lead class counsel, and firm client Regmon Hawkins as class representative. In addition to finding that all of the factors for class certification were met under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Judge Alsup found that Mr. Hawkins sufficiently established Article III standing to sue, in accordance with the requirements spelled out by the recent U.S. Supreme Court case of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.
In 2013, Mr. Hawkins applied for a job as a security guard at IPC International, Inc. As part of the pre-employment process, IPC purchased a background report on Mr. Hawkins from S2Verify. That report contained three criminal charges that ended in a “No Bill by Grand Jury” and occurred more than seven years before the date of Mr. Hawkins’s report. As a result of the report, Mr. Hawkins was denied employment at IPC. The inclusion of “obsolete” criminal history information such as the three “No Bill” charges on Mr. Hawkins’s report violates Section 1681c(a)(5) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Caddell & Chapman’s extensive discovery in the case uncovered that S2Verify had an internal policy to make exceptions to the FCRA for IPC and eight other clients. This led to the widespread inclusion of obsolete criminal history in thousands of background reports like that of Mr. Hawkins. The certified class consists of consumers whose reports were purchased by those nine S2Verify clients, Chase Professionals, IPC International, Inc., Foodtemps, Inc. d/b/a Foodstaff, Mississippi Gaming Commission, StaffMasters, Inc., T&T Staff Management, Inc., Tarrant Regional Water District, TRC Staffing Services, or United Refining Company, from June 16, 2013 through February 28, 2014, and which contained any public record of criminal arrest, charge, information, indictment, or other adverse item of information other than records of an actual conviction of a crime, which antedated the report by more than 7 years.
The article by legal trade publication Law360 on the order certifying the class can be found here.