United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
before the Court are Defendant Southeastern Pennsylvania
Transportation Authority's Motion to Dismiss the First
Amended Class Action Complaint (Doc. 25), Plaintiffs'
Memorandum of Law in Opposition thereto (Doc. 27), and
Defendant's Reply in Further Support of its Motion (Doc.
34). Upon careful consideration of the parties'
submissions and the arguments presented to the Court during
Oral Argument held on October 12, 2016, and for the reasons
set forth below, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”)
action arises out of alleged violations of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681
et seq., and Pennsylvania state law. The FCRA was
created “to ensure fair and accurate credit reporting,
promote efficiency in the banking system, and protect
consumer privacy.” Safeco Ins. Co. of Am. v.
Burr, 551 U.S. 47, 52 (2007). The FCRA requires
employers who obtain consumer reports for employment purposes
to provide a clear and conspicuous disclosure, in writing,
and in a document that consists solely of the disclosure
(“stand-alone disclosure”) to the consumer,
before procurement. 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A)(i) and
(ii). The FCRA also requires employers to provide a consumer
with a copy of his consumer report and a summary of rights
under the FCRA before taking any adverse action against him.
15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(3)(A)(i) and (ii). Adverse actions
include “a denial of employment or any other decision
for employment purposes that adversely affects any current or
prospective employee” and “an action taken or
determination that is . . . adverse to the interests of the
consumer.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(k)(1)(B).
person who willfully fails to comply with any requirement [of
the FCRA] with respect to any consumer is liable to that
consumer.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a).
The Parties and Allegations
Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (“SEPTA”)
is a public transit authority organized under the laws of the
Pennsylvania with its headquarters in Philadelphia. (Compl.
¶ 33.) SEPTA is alleged to be a “person using
consumer reports . . . for employment purposes” who
“has taken adverse action . . . based wholly or in part
on” Plaintiffs' consumer reports. (Compl. ¶
34.) Plaintiffs Frank Long, Joseph Shipley, and Michael White
are Philadelphia residents who applied and interviewed for
positions with SEPTA between 2014 and 2016. (Compl.
¶¶ 21, 23-28, 30-31.) For the purposes of this
Memorandum, Plaintiffs are assumed to be
“Consumers” as defined by the FCRA, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681a(c). Plaintiffs allege that they were denied
employment by SEPTA because of their criminal history.
(Compl. ¶¶ 44, 57, 69.)
assert that they completed forms disclosing prior
drug-related convictions and authorizing SEPTA to conduct
background checks. (Compl. ¶¶ 42, 52, 65.)
Plaintiffs claim that the forms did not comply with the
FCRA's stand-alone disclosure requirement. Specifically,
Plaintiffs allege that the forms contained extraneous
language, including language inquiring about their
educational history, employment history, probation or parole
status, and job suitability. Plaintiffs further allege that
SEPTA did not provide any other authorization form that
complied with the FCRA. (Compl.¶¶ 43, 53, 66.)
also allege that SEPTA did not provide Plaintiffs with a copy
of their consumer reports or a summary of their rights under
the FCRA before revoking or denying their employment offers.
(Compl. ¶ 85.)
Long filed a class action complaint in this Court on April
27, 2016. Long later amended his complaint, adding Shipley
and White on May 26, 2016 (“First Amended
Complaint”). In Plaintiffs' First Amended
Complaint, Plaintiffs assert four claims against
SEPTA. First, Plaintiffs allege that SEPTA
willfully violated the FCRA because SEPTA failed to provide a
clear and conspicuous written disclosure, which would meet
the FCRA's stand- alone requirement, before obtaining
Plaintiffs' consumer reports. (Compl. ¶¶ 112,
114-16.) Second, Plaintiffs allege that SEPTA willfully
violated the FCRA by failing to provide consumer reports to
Plaintiffs before revoking their employment offers. (Compl.
¶¶ 120-21, 123-25.) Third, Plaintiffs allege that
SEPTA willfully violated the FCRA by failing to provide
Plaintiffs with a summary of their rights under the FCRA
before taking adverse employment actions against them.
(Compl. ¶¶ 129-30.) Lastly, Plaintiffs allege that
SEPTA violated Pennsylvania state law. (Compl. ¶¶
First Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs do not allege that their
consumer reports were inaccurate in any way.
seek, inter alia, injunctive and declaratory relief,
actual or statutory damages, and exemplary and punitive
damages. (Compl. ¶ 14.)