Jones v. Sterling Infosystems, Inc. was a class action lawsuit against Sterling Infosystems, Inc. (“Sterling”), one of the nation’s largest background screening companies.  The suit charged Sterling with systemic violations of federal and state laws governing the background screening process. The lead plaintiff was Kevin A. Jones, a Manhattan resident who was offered a job as doorman/porter by Sterling’s client, Halstead Management Company, LLC (“Halstead”).  Kevin A. Jones has no criminal conviction history, but a background check performed by Sterling mixed him up with a Kevin M. Jones, who had several criminal convictions according to a Sterling background report.  Halstead revoked Mr. Jones’ offer after receiving the Sterling report.  On May 1, 2014, LAC and its co-counsel, Francis & Mailman P.C., filed a class action complaint against Sterling in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The class action complaint charged Sterling with violating federal and New York State Fair Credit Reporting Acts.  Specific charges included Sterling’s systematic failure to use reasonable procedures to ensure that its reports are accurate and up to date. Court records clearly identified the convictions as belonging to a Kevin M. Jones, not Kevin A. Jones. But Sterling failed to check court records and instead, relied on second hand information.  The complaint also charged Sterling with failing to reinvestigate when Mr. Jones complained.

The suit also charged Sterling with systematically failing to provide two legally required notices that can help individuals like Mr. Jones ensure the accuracy of their reports and otherwise protect their rights.  In particular, the suit charged that Sterling failed to provide employees and applicants with a required contemporaneous notice that it is giving adverse information about them to employers (and potential employers).  It also charged that Sterling failed to provide notice about the right to request a description of the procedure Sterling used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information reported.  Furthermore, the class action complaint charged Sterling with failing to include legally required information when individuals request information in their consumer files – information that may have assisted Mr. Jones determine the source of the inaccurate data.

Sterling’s unlawful business practices harmed Mr. Jones and hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals with criminal records and other job seekers in New York and throughout the country, according to the suit.

Following motion practice, the case resulted in a confidential, individual settlement.

LAC Attorneys:  Monica Welby and Sally Friedman

LAC Co-Counsel and Lead Counsel:  Francis & Mailman, P.C.

Significant Court Documents:

May 1, 2014 – Class Action Complaint – PDF

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