Case: Keels v. The GEO Group, Inc.

1:15-cv-06261 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Filed Date: Oct. 30, 2015

Closed Date: 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 30, 2015, the plaintiff, a job applicant with a criminal record, filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Represented by Outten & Golden LLP, the complaint named two defendants--a company specializing in privatized corrections and the consumer reporting agency that supplied consumer reports to the company, under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681. The plaintiff alleged that the company routinely rej…

On October 30, 2015, the plaintiff, a job applicant with a criminal record, filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Represented by Outten & Golden LLP, the complaint named two defendants--a company specializing in privatized corrections and the consumer reporting agency that supplied consumer reports to the company, under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681. The plaintiff alleged that the company routinely rejected job applicants based on information contained in background check reports in violation of the FCRA. Specifically, the company had taken adverse action against the plaintiff based on information in his consumer report, but prior to their decision and thus in violation of the FCRA, the defendants did not provide the plaintiff with a copy of the report and a description of the plaintiff's rights under the FCRA.

On December 17, 2015, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to include an additional plaintiff. In early March of 2016, the parties began settlement discussions.

On May 19, 2016, the defendant consumer reporting agency filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. On July 14, 2016, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims against the consumer reporting agency.

On October 5, 2016, plaintiffs motioned for preliminary approval of class action settlement, conditional certification of the settlement class, and approval of plaintiffs' proposed notice of settlement. On September 30, 2017, the Court (Judge Carol Bagley Amon) approved the settlement.

The class was certified, for settlement purposes only, as: "All persons for whom GEO obtained a Consumer Report, from October 30, 2010 through the date of entry of this Order, as part of the GEO hiring or employee retention process, and at some point later in time either were not hired or were terminated, and by virtue of being provided with notice, have the opportunity to potentially become a member of the proposed class."

In exchange for class members releasing any and all claims related to this litigation, the defendants agreed to establish a settlement amount of $900,000.00 to cover payment to class members, plaintiffs' counsel's attorneys' fees and costs, settlement administrator's fees and costs, and service awards.

Class members were able to claim $100.00 if they had a consumer report that was completed and returned to the defendant on or between October 30, 2010 through October 29, 2013, or $200.00 if they had a consumer a consumer report completed and returned do the defendant on October 30, 2013 through the date of the final order. $300,000.00 of the settlement was allotted for Plaintiffs' attorney's fees and costs. Named plaintiffs were allowed to apply for a service awards up to $5000.00.

Defendants also agreed to revise their policies and implement a background check policy to ensure FCRA compliance. The defendant agreed to affirmative obligations of: (1) consolidating background check vendors; (2) contracting with vendors to assume the administration process for sending adverse action notices and engaging in periodic compliance audits; (3) performing FCRA training for HR employees; (4) transferring the responsibility of initiating the adverse action notice process to the regional or corporate level; (5) standardizing FCRA-related forms; (6) making copies of periodic background check reports available to employees upon request and inform employees of this right; and (7) conducting periodic audits of this process.

On February 6, 2018, the parties' motions for settlement were referred to Chief Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold. On February 23, 2018, Judge Gold approved the parties' motion for settlement. The settlement agreement required GEO to pay the maximum settlement amount of $900,000 to cover payment to class members and court-approved costs and fees, including plaintiffs' counsel's attorneys' fees and costs. Under the agreement, GEO was also required to make significant changes to its policies and business practices, such as implementing a formal background check policy to codify the procedures it uses to ensure FCRA compliance. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Cade Boland (11/16/2017)

Lisa Limb (3/22/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Amon, Carol Bagley (New York)

Gold, Steven M. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Klein, Adam T. (New York)

McNerney, Christopher M. (New York)

Miazad, Ossai (New York)

Steel, Lewis M (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Devata, Pamela Q. (Illinois)

Farber, Evan K. (New York)

McClure, Shannon Elise (Pennsylvania)

O'Neil, Michael (Illinois)

Judge(s)

Amon, Carol Bagley (New York)

Gold, Steven M. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Klein, Adam T. (New York)

McNerney, Christopher M. (New York)

Miazad, Ossai (New York)

Steel, Lewis M (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Devata, Pamela Q. (Illinois)

Farber, Evan K. (New York)

McClure, Shannon Elise (Pennsylvania)

O'Neil, Michael (Illinois)

Rollins, Anne E. (Pennsylvania)

Short, Carolyn P. (Pennsylvania)

Szyba, Robert Tadeusz (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 30, 2017 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

Oct. 30, 2015 Complaint
16

First Amended Class Action Complaint

Dec. 17, 2015 Complaint
49

Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action Settlement, Conditional Certification of the Settlement Class, Appointment of Plaintiffs' Counsel as Class Counsel

Oct. 5, 2016 Pleading / Motion / Brief
54-1

Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Unopposed Motion for Certification of the Settlement Class and Final Approval of Class Action Settlement

Jan. 23, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief
57-8

[Proposed] Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motions for Certification of the Settlement Class and Final Approval of the Class Action Settlement, Approval of Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses, and Approval of Service Payments

Jan. 23, 2018 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 30, 2015

Closing Date: 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All persons for whom GEO obtained a Consumer Report, from October 30, 2010 through the date of entry of this Order, as part of the GEO hiring or employee retention process, and at some point later in time either were not hired or were terminated, and by virtue of being provided with notice, have the opportunity to potentially become a member of the proposed class.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Outten & Golden

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

The Geo Group, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Accurate Background, LLC, Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 900000

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention

Training

Issues

General:

Pattern or Practice

Records Disclosure

Discrimination-area:

Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff

Hiring