United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Jerome Ratliff Jr., individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, Plaintiff,
Celadon Trucking Services, Inc., and Celadon Group, Inc., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. SHAH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jerome Ratliff alleges that defendants Celadon Trucking
Services, Inc. and Celadon Group, Inc. intentionally and
willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1681 et seq. Defendants move to dismiss
the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
and 12(b)(2). That motion is granted.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the
court's subject-matter jurisdiction, while a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(2) tests whether the court has
personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1)-(2). For both motions, the party asserting
jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing that
jurisdiction is satisfied. Glaser v. Wound Care
Consultants, Inc., 570 F.3d 907, 913 (7th Cir. 2009);
Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 700 (7th Cir.
as here, a court resolves a Rule 12(b)(2) motion based on the
submission of written materials and without holding an
evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make out a prima
facie case of personal jurisdiction. uBID, Inc. v.
GoDaddy Grp., Inc., 623 F.3d 421, 423 (7th Cir. 2010);
GCIU-Emp'r Ret. Fund v. Goldfarb Corp., 565 F.3d
1018, 1023 (7th Cir. 2009). Even though courts resolve all
factual disputes in the plaintiff's favor, courts accept
as true all unrefuted facts in the defendants'
declarations or affidavits. GCIU-Emp'r Ret.
Fund, 565 F.3d at 1020 n.1. Accordingly, when defendants
challenge a fact alleged in the plaintiff's complaint
with a sworn statement, the plaintiff has an obligation to go
beyond the pleadings and submit affirmative evidence
supporting the exercise of jurisdiction. Id.
applied for a job as a truck driver with Celadon by
submitting an application in response to a solicitation on
Celadon's website.  ¶ 22; [19-1] ¶ 3. Celadon
obtains a background report from HireRight, LLC for all of
its applicants.  ¶ 2. The background report includes
information such as the applicant's prior employers,
trucking accidents, incident history, and the like.
Id. ¶¶ 2, 19. After Ratliff electronically
signed disclosure and release consent forms, [19-1] ¶ 7,
a recruiter at Celadon processed Ratliff's application
and initiated a request to obtain his background report from
HireRight, [18-2] ¶ 16. Celadon received the report the
same day that Ratliff submitted his application.  ¶
23. Based on information from the background report, Celadon
decided not to hire him. Id. ¶¶ 24-25.
But, Celadon did not notify him within three days of their
decision to not hire him, nor did Celadon comply with any of
the other related Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements.
Id. ¶ 26.
leased a drop yard in Illinois, which had space for
approximately ten trailers; but Celadon did not have any
offices or operations in Illinois, nor did it make employment
or personnel decisions in Illinois. [18-2] ¶¶ 8-10.
In 2016 and 2017, (1) less than 7% of all routes driven by
Celadon drivers began or ended in Illinois, id.
¶ 11; (2) less than 5% of all miles driven by Celadon
drivers were driven in Illinois, id. ¶ 12; (3)
and less than 10% of Celadon's revenue was generated by
customers headquartered in Illinois, id. ¶ 13.
Ratliff viewed Celadon's solicitation from Illinois, he
submitted his application from Illinois, and his application
included his Illinois address. [19-1] ¶¶ 3-5. There
was no suggestion that Ratliff's Illinois residency was
material to Celadon's hiring decision. See Id.
¶ 6. The Celadon recruiter who processed Ratliff's
application was based in Pennsylvania; and Celadon made the
decision not to hire Ratliff from Pennsylvania. [18-2]
asserts that defendants willfully violated the FCRA by
failing to provide the requisite notifications under 15
U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(3)(B). This failure, Ratliff contends,
caused an informational injury, and it violated his right to
privacy. Defendants move to dismiss this action for
lack of standing and for lack of personal jurisdiction.
establish standing under Article III of the United States
Constitution, a plaintiff must show an “injury in
fact” that is “fairly traceable” to the
defendant's conduct and that is “likely to be
redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”
Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016),
as revised (May 24, 2016). Ratliff bears the burden
of establishing each element of standing. Silha v. ACT,
Inc., 807 F.3d 169, 173 (7th Cir. 2015). Here,
defendants only challenge the injury-in-fact requirement.
Ratliff must show that his injury is “concrete and
particularized” and “actual or imminent, not
conjectural or hypothetical.” Spokeo, 136
S.Ct. at 1548. Merely alleging a statutory violation does not
automatically satisfy the concrete injury requirement.
Id. at 1549. In some circumstances, where there is a
risk of real harm, a violation of a statutory procedural
right will be enough to confer standing; but, a plaintiff
cannot “allege a bare procedural violation, divorced
from any concrete harm, and satisfy the injury-in-fact
requirement of Article III.” Id.
1681b(b)(3)(B) provides that when a consumer applies for
employment, which prompts a person to procure a consumer
report on the consumer, and in turn, to take an adverse
action on the employment action because of the consumer
report, then the person must provide the consumer, within
three days of the action, with the following information: (1)
a statement that the adverse action was taken because of the
consumer report; (2) the name and contact information of the
consumer reporting agency that generated the report; (3) a
disclaimer that the consumer reporting agency did not make
the decision to take the adverse action and is unable to
provide the consumer with an explanation for the adverse
action; and (4) the opportunity for the consumer to request a
free copy of the report for the purpose of disputing the
accuracy or completeness of the information in the report. 15
U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(3)(B).
the Supreme Court explained in Spokeo, there are
many instances where a violation of one of those four
procedures would not result in harm. Spokeo, 136
S.Ct. at 1550. As an example, the failure to provide the
required notice to the consumer might not cause harm if the
consumer information is entirely accurate. Id.
“In addition, not all inaccuracies cause harm or
present any material risk of harm.” Id. This
hypothetical helps resolve this case, where Ratliff does not
allege that the report defendants used contained harmful
inaccuracies that he was unable to correct.
on Federal Election Commission v. Akins, 524 U.S. 11
(1998) and Public Citizen v. U.S. Department of
Justice, 491 U.S. 440 (1989), Ratliff argues that he
need not show further harm beyond defendants failure to
provide those required disclosures because that failure
caused his informational injury. Although the Supreme Court
cited Akins and Public Citizen as examples
of where a violation of a procedural right was sufficient to
constitute an injury in fact, see Spokeo, 136 S.Ct.
at 1549-50, both cases are distinguishable from this one
because the plaintiffs in those cases alleged injuries that
involved more than the mere denial of access to information
in violation of a statutory procedure. In Akins,
denying voters access to information about the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee's membership,
contributions, and expenditures constituted an injury in fact
because it limited voters' ability to evaluate candidates
for public office, which conflicted with the aims of the
Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. § 30101(4).
Similarly, the denial of access to records concerning