Two Verisk Analytics Inc. units agreed to pay $18 million to settle three proposed class action lawsuits that allege the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to take reasonable measures to ensure the accuracy of background check reports provided to prospective employers.
The putative class action lawsuits targeted two Verisk units: Intellicorp Records Inc. and Insurance Information Exchange LLC. These companies provide consumer reports including background checks. In their class action lawsuits, the plaintiffs accuse the companies of violating the FCRA by providing incorrect, outdated or incomplete information to potential employers. Specifically, they argue that the defendants failed to provide certain consumers with copies of their consumer reports before delivering them to prospective employers and that the companies failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the reports.
The class action lawsuits alleged a number of issues with the background checks that were sent to prospective employers. Plaintiff Jane Roe (a pseudonym) indicated that a prospective employer received a copy of her background check that omitted material information that was available in public records, claiming that Intellicorp relied on out-of-date information when creating the report.
Plaintiff Michael Thomas, who claims he has no prior criminal history, accused Intellicorp of including the criminal history from other individuals. Due to this error, he claims he was falsely identified as a criminal and was thus disqualified from employment. Plaintiff Mark Johnson raised a similar complaint against Insurance Information Exchange.
The FCRA is a consumer protection statute that requires consumer reporting agencies to create policies that are fair and equitable to consumers with regard to the collection, dissemination and use of their consumer and credit information. In their class action lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege that the companies “fail to use ‘reasonable procedures’ necessary to ensure the ‘maximum possible accuracy’ of the reports they sell.” They also claim that Intellicorp violated the FCRA by failing to notify consumers when it compiles and sells a consumer report to an employer.
The defendants have denied all allegations set forth in the class action lawsuits, insisting that they complied with the FCRA at all times.
By filing the class action lawsuits, the plaintiffs were seeking a statutory damage award between $100 and $1,000 as permitted under the FCRA.
Proposed Class Members include all U.S. residents who were the subject of one or more consumer reports provided to a third party by Intellicorp or Insurance Information Exchange for employment purposes, which contained a “Criminal SuperSearch” result reflecting an arrest or conviction between April 16, 2010 and Sept. 16, 2013.
The parties agreed to a class action settlement amount of $18.6 million, which is equal to the monetary value of free consumer reports to all putative Class Members. The consumer reporting agencies also agreed to update and improve their reporting policies to maximize the accuracy of the reports.
The parties are also seeking to consolidate the three actions into a single class action lawsuit.
The proposed class action settlement is still subject to Court approval.
The plaintiffs are represented by O’Toole McLaughlin Dooley & Pecora Co. LPA, Chavez & Gertler LLP, Consumer Litigation Associates, Lyngklip & Associates Consumer Law Center PLC, The Law Offices of Devin H. Fok, A New Way of Life Reentry Project and Cohen Rosenthal & Kramer LLP.
The class action lawsuits are Jane Roe, et al. v. Intellicorp Records Inc., Case No. 1:12-cv-02288; Michael R. Thomas, et al. v. Intellicorp Records Inc., Case No. 1:12-cv-02433; and Mark A. Johnson, et al. v. Insurance Information Exchange LLC, Case No. 1:13-cv-00616, all in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.
UPDATE 1: Details on how to file a claim for the Intellicorp Background Check Class Action Settlement are up! Eligible consumers can receive between $50 and $2,000 if they file a valid claim by the April 21, 204 deadline.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Claim Form for this settlement requires you to enter the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. This appears to be the way the Settlement Administrator will verify that you were subject to an improper background check by the defendants. We ALWAYS encourage our readers to protect their personal information by confirming with the Settlement Administrator and/or law firms handling a case to ensure that such information is required. We are NOT a law firm or Settlement Administrator and cannot advise you on if you should submit your SSN. Information on how to contact the Settlement Administrator and law firms for the Intellicrop Background Check Class Action Settlement can be found at www.IntellicorpClassAction.com.
UPDATE 2: A federal judge granted final approval to the Intellicorp background check class action settlement on June 5, 2014. The first round of payments could be going out at the end of the summer/early fall and the second round in early 2015, according to some reports.
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