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Class Certified in Background Check Case

Deborah Elkins//June 27, 2016

Class Certified in Background Check Case

Deborah Elkins//June 27, 2016//

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A Richmond U.S. District Court certifies a class in plaintiffs’ suit alleging defendant employers did not hire plaintiffs based, in part, on information contained in consumer reports furnished by Trans Union LLC, in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Plaintiffs allege the process used by Trans Union for mailing notices to consumers at the time it furnishes a consumer report containing certain information to the user of such consumer report violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681k. Trans Union generates a notice to consumers – dubbed a “PEER Letter” – when it furnishes a consumer report for employment purposes that contains potentially adverse public record information.

Plaintiffs sued Trans Union for violation of § 1681k based on the timing of Trans Union’s PEER Letter process. Trans Union admits to sending PEER Letters without regard to whether or not it provided the consumer report to “the user.” Trans Union also admits to employing the same process each time it sent a PEER Letter. Plaintiffs challenge that process. Thus, for purposes of the current motion only, the court assumes without deciding that HireRight and Business Information Group (BIG) qualify as users of the potentially incriminating consumer reports sent by Trans Union. Consequently, plaintiffs satisfy the typicality requirement, as Trans Union employed the same process to send PEER Letters to both plaintiffs and the absent class members.

The court grants plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, with edits, certifying the following class: All natural persons residing in the U.S. who were the subject of a consumer report furnished by Trans Union LLC to Business Information Group Inc., or HireRight Inc., that was furnished for an employment purpose, that contained at least one record of a civil lien, bankruptcy or civil judgment, on or after Oct. 3, 2012, and to whom Trans Union did not place in the U.S. mail postage prepaid, on the day it was furnished any part of the report containing the public record, a written notice that it was furnishing the subject report and containing the name of the person that was to receive the report. Excluded from the class definition are any employees, officers, directors of Trans Union, any attorney appearing in this case and any judge assigned to hear this action.

Henderson v. Trans Union LLC (Gibney) No. 3:14cv679, May 3, 2016; USDC at Richmond, Va.; Craig C. Marchiando for plaintiff; Travis A. Sabalewski for defendant. VLW 016-3-227, 12 pp.

VLW 016-3-227

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