The Settlement Fairness Hearing was held on January 22, 2019 and final approval was granted on the same day. On February 1, 2019, benefit awards were mailed to all eligible Class Members. Please cash your check by the May 2, 2019 void date.
On October 5, 2018, the Court preliminarily approved a Settlement in the above-captioned litigation (the "Class Lawsuit") between Class Representative, William Fosbrink (“Class Representative”), on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, against Defendant Area Wide Protective (“Defendant”) alleging violations of the Fair Credt Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq. (the “FCRA”). In the Complaint, the Class Representative seeks certification of a nationwide class under the FCRA.
As alleged in the Complaint, the Class Representative was formerly employed by Defendant. During the employment application process, Defendant procured a consumer report on the Class Representative. The Class Representative alleges that, in connection therewith, Defendant violated Section 1681b(b)(2)(A) of the FCRA by failing to: 1) disclose to the Class Representative and other of its employees, former employees, and/or prospective employees (in a document consisting solely of the disclosure) that it was going to obtain a consumer report for employment purposes prior to obtaining a copy of the actual report; and, 2) as a result, obtain the proper authorization under the FCRA to obtain those consumer reports (collectively, the “FCRA Claims”). More particularly, the Class Representative alleges that the FCRA disclosure and authorization form(s) utilized by Defendant: 1) was/were not (a) stand-alone disclosure(s); and 2) contained extraneous information, more particularly “liability releases,” “blanket authorizations to various entities to release information otherwise protected by state or federal laws,” and “extraneous information about various state laws.”
Defendant denies that the FCRA disclosure and authorization forms that it utilized/utilizes violated/violate the FCRA. Defendant has raised several meritorious defenses to the Class Representative’s allegations that Defendant violated the FCRA.
Am I part of the Settlement Class?
The Proposed Settlement includes approximately 22,000 natural persons in the United States of America who were employed by or applied for employment with Defendant and who were the subject of a consumer report that was procured by Defendant for employment purposes between May 16, 2015 and October 5, 2018. Excluded from the Class are the persons who timely and validly request exclusion from the Class.
If you received a Notice, it is believed that you are a member of the Settlement Class.
The "Disclosure Settlement Class" is defined to include:
All AREA WIDE PROTECTIVE employees and job applicants who applied for or worked in a position at AREA WIDE PROTECTIVE in the United States and who were the subject of a consumer report that was procured by AREA WIDE PROTECTIVE within two years of the filing of this complaint through the date of final judgment in this action as required by 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(b)(2)(A) and as to whom AREA WIDE PROTECTIVE used the purported disclosure and authorization form substantially similar to that allegedly used with Plaintiff.
What benefits does the Proposed Settlement provide?
The Proposed Settlement provides for monetary benefits, as follows:
- In consideration for the dismissal with prejudice of the FCRA Claims, and the releases set forth below, Defendant shall pay $850,000 as a total settlement fund (“Settlement Fund”) to the Class for statutory damages, attorney’s fees and costs, pursuant to the FCRA and all applicable state law(s), in the form of a check (“Settlement Check”) from which each identifiable Class Member will be provided a notice to file a claim (“Claim Form”) to receive a pro rata (proportional) share of the Settlement Fund. The Claim Form to be used by Class Members is attached to this Class Notice.
- Any payment due to you under the Settlement Agreement will be reduced on a pro-rata basis to pay for court-approved attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation.
- The payments to the Class Members under this Settlement Agreement shall be made within 10 days from the date the Settlement becomes final.
- The payments to the Class Members shall be in the form of a Settlement Check which will become void ninety (90) days from the date of issue. The date of issue of the Settlement Check shall be the same date as the date the Settlement Check is mailed to each Participating Class Member. Once a Settlement Check issued to a Class Member pursuant to this section becomes void, Defendant shall have no further obligation to such Class Member.
- If any Class Member does not negotiate his or her Settlement Check within ninety (90) days from the date of issuance, the funds shall revert back to Defendant, subject to Court approval. More details of the proposed Settlement are in a document called the Settlement Agreement, which is available for your inspection at the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, 801 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33602, during normal business hours or on the Important Documents page.
What are my options?
Your rights and options - and the deadlines to exercise them - are summarized below. These rights and options are explained in the Notice and in the Settlement Agreement, which can be downloaded from the Important Documents page, and further information about each of these can be found in the FAQ.