Make It Clear, Make It Broad: The D.C. District Court Determines A Plaintiff Has Standing To Pursue

The latest entry in a nearly decade-long dispute between a plaintiff and his former employer and manager, Mattiaccio v. DHA Grp., Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129464 (D.D.C. July 21, 2020) is an in-depth analysis of standing under the FCRA in the face of unclear pleading by a pro se litigant.

The Mattiaccio plaintiff was terminated by the defendants based on alleged misconduct. The defendants claims that they performed pre- and post-employment background checks to investigate employee misconduct, which is normally exempt from the FCRA. However, the plaintiff alleged that these background checks were retaliation for a complaint he had filed against the defendants.

Relevant to our interests, plaintiff brought two FCRA claims. The first was an allegation that the defendants lacked “proper authorization” under Section 1681b(b)(2)(A) of the FCRA to perform the background checks, because the authorizations for the checks were not clearly formatted. The court determined that this was a bare procedural violation insufficient to give plaintiff standing to bring this claim, as he failed to allege any actual injury from this unclear formatting.

The second claim was construed by the court as an allegation that the plaintiff did not authorize a post-employment background check under § 1681b(b)(2)(A), and was not given a summary of rights or a chance to review his consumer report before he was terminated based on the post-employment background check, in violation of § 1681b(b)(3)(A).

Defendants had plaintiff sign separate authorizations for each background check, and provided signed copies of both as evidence. The plaintiff claimed that the signed authorization for the post-employment background check (the results of which were used to justify his termination) was falsified. Because there was still a material factual dispute regarding the validity (rather than the formatting) of this authorization, the court determined that a defendant’s unauthorized obtaining of a consumer report was an injury in fact, giving plaintiff standing. FULL ARTICLE

© 2020

InteliCrunch is a free service provided by a collective of people who monitor the background screening industry and how events affect not only the people in it, but even more importantly, the real human impact the industry has on today's society.*All third party logos and / or images used on this website are the sole property and / or registered trademarks of their respective companies or copyright holders. Use of these logos, images or likenesses does not, in any way, imply the endorsement of InteliCrunch by any of the businesses, brands or individuals represented, their parent companies, officers, employees, partners, or affiliates. Any such usage is for informational / news purposes only.  Any / all articles, announcements, releases or third-party-authored content is / are linked back to the original "source"  and author credit given  Furthermore, InteliCrunch is not responsible for, and does not warrant the safety of any third-party links or sites to which any viewer may be directed from InteliCrunch.  InteliCrunch has made reasonable efforts to ensure that any news or informational links on the site are from "known and reputable"  sources / websites.