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Atif N. Rana, Individually and On Behalf of Others Similarly v. College Admissions Assistance

April 13, 2012

ATIF N. RANA, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ASSISTANCE, LLC, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Atif Rana has sued College Admissions Assistance, LLC (CAA). He asserts a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and seeks to represent several classes of Illinois residents with similar FCRA claims against CAA. CAA has moved to dismiss the case to enforce a forum selection clause or, in the alternative, to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated below, the Court denies CAA's motion.

Background

CAA provides college planning services. It hires enrollment consultants, whom it characterizes as independent contractors, to sign up customers for its services.

In March 2011, Rana interviewed with CAA for a position as an enrollment consultant. He alleges that after the interview, CAA told him that he could soon begin training. CAA sent Rana paperwork that he had to complete. Among the documents Rana completed were a proposed contract and an authorization for CAA to conduct a background check. In relevant part, the proposed contract provided:

1. Term: This Agreement will become effective upon signing and will continue until either party gives the other party ten (10) days written notice of its termination.

18. Governing Law: The Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas, and Independent Contractor agrees to subject himself/herself to the exclusive jurisdiction of the State District Courts in Dallas County, Texas.

Def. Ex. 2-A at 4, 6. The proposed contract also contained, on its final page, lines for the signatures of Rana and a CAA officer. Id. at 7. Rana signed the proposed contract on March 9, 2011.

Rana did not hear from CAA and therefore contacted the company to ask about the status of his paperwork. CAA told him that it would not hire him for the enrollment consultant position because a background check had revealed that he had a criminal conviction. Rana asked for a copy of the background check report, because he believed the information was erroneous. Rana received a copy of the report and determined that the information on it was inaccurate. He was able to contact Reliable Background Screening, the company that had performed the background check, and have the inaccurate information removed.

CAA never hired Rana as a enrollment consultant and never signed the proposed contract.

Discussion

CAA contends that Rana's individual and class claims should be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) because he agreed to a forum selection clause requiring that the claims be brought in Texas state court. CAA argues in the alternative that the Court should transfer Rana's claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

A. Forum selection clause

Rana argues that the forum selection clause is not enforceable against him because it is not part of a valid contract. He contends that no binding contract was never ...


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