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Hopkins v. Staffing Network Holdings, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 18, 2016

AKEEM HOPKINS, individually and as a representative of the class, Plaintiff,
v.
STAFFING NETWORK HOLDINGS, LLC, d/b/a Staffing Network, LLC, and QUALITY PLACEMENT AUTHORITY, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert W. Gettleman, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Akeem Hopkins brought a one count putative class action complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, against defendants Staffing Network Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Staffing Network, LLC and Quality Placement Authority, LLC, alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Defendants removed the case to this court and the moved to dismiss (Doc. 9) for lack of standing under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Defendants' motion also sought a determination that “class action is non-maintainable.” Because standing is a threshold issue and defendants' argument is based on the Supreme Court's recent decision in Spokeo v. Robins, __ U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016), the court limited briefing to that issue. For the reasons stated below, the court grants defendants' motion and remands this matter to the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

         FACTS

         Defendants provide staffing services to companies that need temporary industrial professional works. Because some of its customers require defendants to run background checks on the potential temporary workers, defendants entered into an agreement with Ferret Background Check to conduct the checks. Ferret provided defendants with a Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation Form (“Disclosure Form”), which defendants provided to the temporary workers. After the temporary workers signed an authorization, Ferret conducted the background check. Plaintiff applied for a position with defendants on January 4, 2016. He received the Disclosure Form and signed the authorization form.

         Plaintiff claims that the Disclosure Form violates § 1681b(b)(2)(A), which provides that:

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer unless -
(i) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and,
(ii) The consumer has authorized in writing (which authorization may be made on the document referred to in clause (i)) the procurement of the report by that person.

         According to plaintiff, the Disclosure Form he received was not a stand-alone document and contained extraneous information. He alleges that his privacy was invaded when Ferret conducted the background check and procured a consumer report on him. He does not allege that he did not know that defendants would receive a consumer report, that the consumer report contained inaccurate information, that he was confused by the alleged “extraneous information” in the Disclosure Form, or that he would not have signed the form absent that information.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants argue that plaintiff lacks standing under Article III of the Constitution, which limits federal judicial power to certain cases and controversies. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). Article III standing has three elements: (1) the plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact, an invasion of a legally protected interest that is (a) concrete and particularized, and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury must be fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendants; and (3) it must be redressable by a favorable decision. Id. at 560-61.

         Relying on the Supreme Court's recent decision in Spokeo, defendants argue that plaintiff has not alleged a concrete injury. The court agrees.

         In Spokeo, the plaintiff sued to enforce § 1681e(b) of the FCRA, which the court described as a consumer protection statute intended to ensure fair and accurate reporting. The defendant, Spokeo, Inc., was an alleged consumer reporting agency that operated a website on which users could search for information on a particular person. In response to an inquiry, the website searched a wide variety of data bases and provided certain information about the subject, such as name, address, telephone number, marital status, age, occupation, finances and education. The plaintiff sued Spokeo after discovering that Spokeo had incorrectly reported that he was married, had children, was in his 50s, was employed and relatively affluent, holding a graduate degree. The plaintiff claimed that Spokeo had violated § 1681e(b), which provides that consumer reporting agencies must “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy” of consumer reports. Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1545-46.

         The district court dismissed the complaint, concluding that the plaintiff had not properly pled an injury in fact. Id. at 1546. The Ninth Circuit reversed, concluding that the plaintiff had alleged an injury in fact by alleging that “‘Spokeo violated his statutory rights, not just the statutory rights of other people, ' and because his ‘personal interests in the handling of his credit information are individualized rather ...


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