Watson v Checkr, Inc.
Watson FCRA Settlement
19-cv-03396-EMC

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • A settlement has been proposed in a class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, entitled Watson v. Checkr, Inc., Case No. 3:19-cv-03396-EMC.

    The notice explains the nature of the lawsuit, the general terms of the proposed settlement, and the legal rights and obligations of Settlement Class Members.

    YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTICE CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT WILL AFFECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS.

  • The lawsuit alleges that Checkr violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (or “FCRA”) by selling inaccurate background reports to current employers containing “real-time” arrest records that belonged to persons who were not the individual who was the subject of the background report. Checkr denies that it did anything wrong or that its conduct violated the FCRA, and no court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

  • In a class action, one or more people called class representatives sue not only for themselves but also on behalf of people who have similar claims. If the Court finds that the legal requirements for establishing a class are met, then all of these people with similar claims and interests form a class.

    When a court decides a class action case or approves a class action settlement, it is applicable to all members of the class (except class members who exclude themselves).

  • The Parties have agreed to the proposed Settlement to avoid the risk, cost, and time of further litigation. Plaintiff and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement set forth in the Settlement Agreement confers substantial benefits on the Settlement Class and is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interests of Plaintiff and the Settlement Class.

  • The court has defined Mismatch Subgroup as follows:

    All natural Persons residing in the United States who: (1) were subject to at least one Continuous Check arrest record report (“CC Arrest Report”) from July 1, 2018 and June 16, 2021, where (2) Checkr’s records for the CC Arrest Reports reflect that the name in the Checkr name field of the CC Arrest Report did not have the same characters as the characters in the vendor name field of the CC Arrest Report, and where (3) the four digit year of birth in the Checkr date of birth field of the CC Arrest Report did not have the same characters as the four digit year of birth in the vendor date of birth field of the CC Arrest Report.

    The court has defined Dispute Subgroup as follows:

    All natural Persons residing in the United States who: (1) were subject to at least one CC Arrest Report between July 1, 2018 and June 16, 2021, where (2) Checkr’s records pertaining to disputes reasonably indicate that the consumer may have disputed with Checkr that the arrest record contained in the CC Arrest Report did not belong to them, and where (3) by the date that the Court enters its Preliminary Approval Order, Checkr’s records reflect that the consumer’s dispute of the CC Arrest Report resulted in a changed CC Arrest Report. The Dispute Subgroup Settlement Class Members are not intended to include consumers who disputed with Checkr, but where Checkr determined its original CC Arrest Report was accurate.

  • Checkr has agreed to make important changes to its procedures for placing arrest records on background reports as a result of the settlement, including by confirming that there is no material mismatch between any of the name, year of birth, Social Security number, or driver license identifiers that Checkr has been provided by the consumer (or customer) for the consumer (if any) and any of the same identifiers provided by the vendor Checkr uses to obtain arrest record information.

    Further, Checkr agrees to establish a Settlement Fund of $795,000.00. After administrative costs and attorneys’ fees are deducted, approximately $460,000.00 of that sum will be available to make monetary payments to members of the Settlement Class.

    If you are a member of Mismatch Subgroup, you must submit a timely and valid Claim Form, to receive any cash payment. The payments are determined on a pro rata basis, meaning they will depend on the number of other people who make valid claims.

  • If you are a member of the Mismatch Subgroup, you must have submitted a claim in order to receive a monetary payment in connection with the settlement.

    The Claim Form must have been submitted online or by mailing to the Settlement Administrator no later than September 7, 2021. The Settlement Administrator will verify that you are a member of the Mismatch Subgroup of the Settlement Class. If you did not submit a valid and timely claim, you will not receive a payment from the Settlement Fund, but you will still be bound by the Settlement unless you excluded yourself.

  • If you are a member of the Dispute Subgroup, you do not need to do anything to receive a monetary payment in connection with the settlement. As long as you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive a payment.

  • If the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals. Settlement payments to Eligible Claimants will be made after the Court grants "final approval" of the Settlement, and after any and all appeals are resolved in favor of upholding the Settlement.

    It is always uncertain when appeals can be resolved and resolving them can take time. Please be patient.

  • If the Court approves the proposed Settlement, it will enter a final and binding judgment in the lawsuit as to all Settlement Class Members who did not request to exclude themselves from the Settlement. The judgment will contain the following release of claims:

     

    All Settlement Class Members release the right or ability to bring or participate in a class action, mass action, representative, or other similar joint or collective claims against Checkr and/or the other Released Persons under the FCRA and/or similar state and local laws, and further release all claims for actual damages, claims for statutory damages, claims for attorneys’ fees and costs, and claims arising under state and local laws similar in substance to the FCRA which were brought or could have been brought in the Action, including but not limited to under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) or 1681i, against Checkr and the other Released Persons.

     

    “Released Persons” in this settlement means Checkr, and also expressly includes Checkr’s insurers and reinsurers, and its corporate affiliates, including predecessors, successors, assigns, current and former employees, shareholders, officers, directors, members, managers, agents, subcontractors, attorneys, insurers, re-insurers, subsidiaries, divisions, parent companies, holding companies or affiliated corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies or other organizations, vendors and all persons acting by, through, under or in concert with them. “Released Persons” does not include any employer, user or subscriber that purchases Checkr’s reports at issue in this case.

  • You may have excluded yourself from the lawsuit and the Settlement by mailing a written request for exclusion to the Settlement Administrator.

    All exclusion requests must have been sent no later than September 7, 2021. If you timely requested exclusion from the Settlement, you will be excluded from the Settlement, you will not be bound by any judgment in the lawsuit, and you will not be precluded from prosecuting any timely claim against Checkr or any Released Person based on the conduct complained of in the lawsuit.

  • If you wish to participate in the Settlement but object to some or all of it, you must file a written objection with the Clerk of Court, and send a copy of Class Counsel and counsel for Checkr no later than September 9, 2021 at the addresses listed below.

    Any written objections must state: the caption of the Litigation; the full name, address and telephone number of the Class Member objecting to the Settlement; a detailed statement of each objection asserted, including the grounds for objection and reasons for appearing and being heard, together with any documents such Class Member wishes to be considered in support of the objection; the identity of all counsel who represent the objector, including any former or current counsel who may be entitled to compensation for any reason related to the objection to the Settlement or Fee Petition; any and all agreements that relate to the objection or the process of objecting—whether written or oral—between objector or objector’s counsel and any other person or entity; the identity of all counsel representing the objector who will appear at the Final Approval Hearing; and, all relief sought.

    Settlement Class Members who fail to make objections in the manner specified above will be deemed to have waived any objections. Only Settlement Class Members who sent timely objections can speak at the fairness hearing. If you wish to speak to at the fairness hearing, you must notify the Court no later than September 9, 2021. You may be subject to cross examination at the hearing. You may, but need not, enter an appearance through counsel of your choice. If you do, you will be responsible for your personal attorney’s fees and costs.

     

    Clerk of the Court
    Office of the Clerk
    U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
    450 Golden Gate Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94102

    Class Counsel
    John Soumilas
    Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C.
    1600 Market Street
    Suite 2510
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Counsel for Checkr
    Rod M. Fliegel
    Littler Mendelson, P.C.
    333 Bush Street
    34th Floor
    San Francisco, CA 94104

  • No. The Court has appointed James A. Francis, John Soumilas, Edward Skipton, Erika Heath, and Lauren Brennan of Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C. as Class Counsel. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Important Update:
    The Court’s Final Settlement Approval Hearing scheduled for October 21, 2021 at 1:30 PM will now be held via a Zoom webinar.
    All counsel, members of the public, and media may access the webinar information at https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/emc


    On October 21, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. a final settlement approval hearing will be held on the fairness of the proposed settlement. At the final settlement approval hearing, the Court will be available to hear any objections and argument concerning the proposed settlement’s fairness. The Court will also consider Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, costs, and an individual settlement and service award for named Plaintiff David Edward Watson. Note that the Court can only approve or deny the settlement and cannot change the terms of the settlement.

    The final settlement approval hearing will take place before the Honorable Edward M. Chen in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has been holding hearings virtually via webinar. If you would like to attend the hearing, you should check the Court’s website to learn how to access the webinar.

  • If you did not submit a valid and timely claim, you will not receive a payment from the Settlement Fund, but you will still be bound by the Settlement unless you exclude yourself.

  • If you are a member of the Dispute Subgroup, you do not need to do anything to receive a monetary payment in connection with the settlement. As long as you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will receive a payment.

  • The notice is merely a summary of the terms of the Settlement.The full Settlement Agreement detailing all of the terms of the Settlement Agreement is available HERE. In order to see all of the proceedings in the case, you may visit the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, PACER Service Center, located at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. You may also visit or call the Clerk’s office of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, located at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, Courtroom 5. The phone number of the Clerk’s office is (415) 522-2000. The Clerk will tell you how to obtain the file for inspection and copying at your own expense. Due to the pandemic, the courthouse may not be open or access may be limited. Check the Court’s website before visiting the courthouse to confirm you can enter the building.

    To fully understand the terms and conditions of the settlement, the Court recommends that you read the Settlement Agreement, because it may contain language, terms, conditions and procedures that are not mentioned or explained in the notice. In the event of any conflict or disagreement between the language of the notice and the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Agreement will control.

DO NOT ADDRESS ANY SUBSTANTIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT OR THE LITIGATION TO THE COURT OR THE JUDGE’S CHAMBERS.

For More Information

Visit this website often to get the most up-to-date information.

Mail
Watson FCRA Settlement
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91398
Seattle, WA 98111