DONNA K. MATHEWS, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated and on Behalf of the General Public v. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY (GEICO)
96 -1850-B (CGA)
Donna Mathews On Behalf of Herself and All Others
Similarly Situated and on Behalf of the General Public
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY
Facts and Background:
This class action was filed in San Diego Superior Court on September 20, 1996. The state action alleged causes of action for Violation of the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Unlawful, Unfair and Fraudulent Business Practices, and Negligence arising out of defendant’s use of consumer credit reports to evaluate applicants for employment. The gravamen of the complaint concerned allegations that defendant failed to inform the applicants that their employment had been denied, in whole or in part, based on information contained in consumer credit reports. Defendant removed the action to the United States District Court, Southern District of California. The class was certified on October 27, 1997.
Defendant failed to inform the applicants that their employment had been denied, in whole or in part, based on information contained in consumer credit reports.
GEICO admitted that its actions directly violated the plain letter of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. Section 1681, et seq., “FCRA”). FCRA requires that employers inform affected persons that their employment was denied based on credit report considerations and to provide those persons with the name, address and telephone number of the credit reporting agency that provided the adverse credit information. However, despite its admission that its actions violated the FCRA, GEICO contended that it maintained “reasonable procedures” to ensure compliance with the FRCA and plaintiffs’ claim should be dismissed. In addition, GEICO contended that the potential applicants suffered no damages as a result of its failure to notify them that their employment had been denied, in whole or in part, based on information contained in their credit reports. GEICO also contended that punitive damages were not justified, since its failure to notify rejected applicants was not knowing or willful.
Injuries and/or Damages:
Civil penalties. Punitive Damages.