United States District Court, N.D. California
REGMON L. HAWKINS, Plaintiff,
ORDER CERTIFYING CLASS
WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
order certifies a statutory damages class for FCRA claims,
appoints the named plaintiff as class representative, and
appoints class counsel.
S2Verify, LLC is a consumer reporting agency that provides
consumer reports to employers, landlords, and creditors. One
of S2Verify’s specialities is providing consumer
reports for employment purposes.
6, 2013, plaintiff Regmon Hawkins applied to work as a
security guard for IPC Corporation, a firm specializing in
providing security services to various businesses (Hawkins
Decl. ¶ 3; Amd. Compl. ¶ 23). IPC then requested
and obtained a consumer report regarding plaintiff from
S2Verify. The report listed plaintiff’s prior
convictions (he has a criminal history) as well as three
charges that did not result in criminal convictions and were
older than seven years. Specifically, the report listed three
criminal charges that listed a disposition of “No Bill
by Grand Jury” with a disposition date of more than
seven years before the date of the report (Hawkins Decl.,
Exh. A). IPC allegedly denied plaintiff’s employment
application on the basis of that report.
is a former drug addict who committed various petty theft
crimes in the 1990s in order to sustain his drug habit. He
was convicted multiple times for theft and once for criminal
trespass (id., Exh. A). Additionally, in January
2006, Hawkins pled guilty to child abduction related to a
domestic dispute. In 2009, however, this conviction was
dismissed pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4
(id. at ¶ 6).
asserts that he has completely transformed himself and that
he has been clean and sober for more than fifteen years. He
is currently employed as a supervisor at Security Code 3, a
security guard company where he has worked since July 2012
(id. at ¶¶ 6-7).
The Fair Credit Reporting Act.
the FCRA, consumer reports may not contain information
regarding “[c]ivil suits, civil judgments, and records
of arrest that, from date of entry, antedate the report by
more than seven years or until the governing statute of
limitations has expired, whichever is the longer
period.” 15 U.S.C. 1681c(a)(2). The FCRA provides
certain exceptions to this prohibition, however, including
where a consumer report is prepared in connection with
“the employment of any individual at an annual salary
which equals, or which may reasonably be expected to equal
$75, 000, or more.” One might have expected Congress to
have included a further exception for school teachers,
security guards, and health-care workers, among others in
sensitive positions, but no such exception was included.
submits deposition testimony by S2Verify’s President
James Zimbardi that S2Verify made exceptions to the
“FCRA standards” for certain clients (Zimbardi
Dep. at 254-55 (errors in original)):
[W]e made exceptions, if you will, for approximately 16 or 17
clients who demonstrated either statutory, legal licensing
requirements to be able to have or use that data. And so we
processed them as exceptions under FCRA based on our belief
at that time that their requirements, and based on what they
were trying to accomplish on behalf of the consumer, licensed
them, put the health home care worker into someone’s
home, give them a right to that data.
particular, S2Verify made exceptions for IPC and the other
companies identified in the class definition proposed by
plaintiff (id. at 171). In March 2014, S2Verify
changed its practices with respect to these identified
clients and, after that point, no longer provided stale,
non-conviction history in the reports (id. at 125,
Claims for Relief and Proposed Class.
complaint asserts three claims against S2Verify: (1)
violation of 15 U.S.C. 1681e(b) and 1681k(a) for failing to
“use reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible
accuracy of the information concerning the individual about
whom the report relates” and failing to use
“strict procedures” to ensure that the
public-record information reported is complete and up to
date; (2) violation of 15 U.S.C. 1681c(a)(2) and (5) for
reporting old charges that were dismissed and older than
seven years; and (3) violation of 15 U.S.C. 1681n for acting
willfully. S2Verify previously moved to strike the
complaint’s class allegations. An order denied the
motion (Dkt. No. 22). S2Verify then moved to dismiss the
claims. A subsequent order denied that motion, too (Dkt. No.
now seeks certification of the following class:
(1) Regmon L. Hawkins and (2) all other natural persons
within the United States (including all territories and other
political subdivisions of the United States) (a) who were the
subject of a consumer report S2VERIFY furnished to 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,
(b) from June 16, 2013 through February 28, 2014, and (c)
whose report 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.
Excluded from the class definition are any employees,
officers, or directors of S2VERIFY, any attorneys appearing
in this case, and any judges assigned to hear this case as
well as their immediate family and staff.
further seeks appointment of Regmon L. Hawkins as class
representative, and appointment of the law firms of Caddell
& Chapman and DHF Law, P.C. as class counsel, with