Judge Dismisses FCRA Lawsuit Against Home Depot Citing Supreme Court Decision in Spokeo Case

FCRA-graphic

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On October 18, 2017, a California federal judge granted a Motion to Dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit against Home Depot that claimed the retailer violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to make proper disclosures and failing to obtain proper authorization when screening.

In the three-page order dismissing the case, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Klausner explained that the lawsuit brought by lead plaintiff Katherine Saltzberg failed to demonstrate actual harm and did not allege a “concrete” injury as required under the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.

Judge Klausner wrote: “Because Saltzberg failed to allege a concrete injury, the court finds that Saltzberg failed to sufficiently plead the requisite elements of standing in her complaint. Although Saltzberg attempts to cure this deficiency by pleading injury in her opposition, the court may not consider these arguments.”

Filed on August 4, 2017, the lawsuit claimed Home Depot violated the FCRA sections 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i)-(ii) by including waivers in background check consent forms that violate the FCRA requirements that background check releases be free of extraneous information and consist solely of the disclosure.

Home Depot asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit “for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because Saltzberg did not sufficiently allege Article III standing.” Specifically, Home Depot asserted “that Saltzberg failed to allege injury-in-fact.” The court agreed with Home Depot and dismissed the case.

The lawsuit is Katherine Saltzberg v. Home Depot USA Inc., case number 2:17-cv-05798, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The complete Motion to Dismiss filed on October 18, 2017, is available at www.unitedstatescourts.org/federal/cacd/685800/29-0.html.

On May 16, 2016, ESR News reported the Supreme Court ruled in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins that consumers must prove “concrete injury” in lawsuits for alleged “bare” violations of a federal statute. The opinion stated “Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.”

The Supreme Court ruling sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stating its Article III standing analysis in a February 4, 2014 decision to reverse a dismissal of the case was incomplete because the Ninth Circuit “failed to consider both aspects of the Article III injury-in-fact requirement.”

Spokeo v. Robins involved a man named Thomas Robins who filed a class action lawsuit against Spokeo, an online “people search engine” that sells publicly available information about individuals, for alleged violations of the FCRA by publishing inaccurate information about his age, education, and experience.

Enacted in 1970, the FCRA is federal legislation that promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information in the files of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) and protects consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their background check reports.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) reminds readers that allegations alone made in class action lawsuits are not proof that a business or person violated any law, rule, or regulation.

ESR Whitepaper on Common Reasons for FCRA Lawsuits

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen has written a whitepaper entitled “Common Ways Prospective or Current Employees Sue Employers Under the FCRA” that is at www.esrcheck.com/Whitepapers/Ways-Employees-Sue-Employers-Under-FCRA/.

In the whitepaper, Rosen – author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – explains how FCRA class action lawsuits are becoming more common but can be easily avoided since, more often than not, most employers are sued for violating “FCRA 101,” simple rules and procedures that are clearly set out in the law.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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