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Lafollette v. Robal, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

March 30, 2017

STEPHANIE LAFOLLETTE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBAL, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM S. DLTFEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson's Final Report and Recommendation [12] (“R&R”). The R&R recommends the Court grant Defendant RoBal, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss [4]. Also before the Court are Plaintiff Stephanie LaFollette's (“Plaintiff”) Objections to the R&R [15].

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts [1]

         On or about November 2015, Plaintiff applied for employment with Defendant. (Compl. ¶ 14). As part of that application, Plaintiff completed Defendant's “Employee Applicant Background Check Authorization/Order Form” (the “Form”). (Compl. ¶ 15; see also Compl. Ex. D [1.4] (copy of Form)). The Form states that “[t]he undersigned (i) confirms that it [sic] has authorized the above named Client to obtain a background check for employment purposes including, without limitation, a consumer report and criminal background check on the undersigned.” (Compl. ¶ 16). The Form also states in a separate paragraph the following:

THE UNDERSIGNED RELEASES AND HOLDS HARMLESS INFORMATION ON DEMAND, INC. AND ITS AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES, AND ALL ENTITITES AND INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN REPORTING INFORMATION ABOUT THE UNDERSIGNED, FROM ANY AND ALL CLAIMS BY, OR LIABILITY TO, THE UNDERSIGNED THAT MAY RESULT FROM, ARISE OUT OF, OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHECK AND CONSENTS TO THE ABOVE NAMED EMPLOYER TO [SIC] PERFORM PERIODIC BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR THE DURATION OF MY EMPLOYMENT WITH THIS COMPANY.

(Compl. ¶ 17 (capital letters and bold in original)).

         The Form states that defendant certifies that it “has provided to the subject of the Background Report a clear and conspicuous written disclosure, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.” (Compl. ¶ 18). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant never provided her with a document that consists solely of the disclosure that it may obtain a consumer report for employment purposes. (Compl. ¶ 19). On November 25, 2015, Defendant obtained Plaintiff's consumer report from a consumer reporting agency called Information on Demand. (Compl. ¶ 20).

         B. Procedural History

         On July 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint on behalf of herself and a putative class, asserting that Defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act's (“FCRA”) “stand-alone disclosure requirement, ” 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A). Plaintiff does not claim that she or the putative class suffered any actual damages, but seeks instead statutory damages, costs, and attorneys' fees. (Compl. ¶¶ 37-38). On September 28, 2016, Defendant filed its Motion to Dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff lacks standing to sue under the Supreme Court's decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016).

         On November 21, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued his R&R. The Magistrate Judge found that the weight of authority holds that a plaintiff who receives the disclosure required under the FCRA, but not in the format required by the FCRA, has not suffered a sufficiently concrete injury to have Article III standing.

         On December 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Objections to the R&R. Plaintiff argues that Spokeo did not alter standing jurisprudence, and that the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that a plaintiff who receives the disclosure required under the FCRA, but not in the format required by the FCRA, has not suffered a sufficiently concrete injury to have Article III standing.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standards

         1. Review of a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

         After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (per curiam). A district judge “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where no party has objected to the report and recommendation, the Court conducts only a plain error review of the ...


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