Bankhead v. First Advantage Background Services Corp.
Bankhead v. First Advantage Settlement
1:17-cv-02910-LMM

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The Court in this case has approved the posting of the Notice so that it could be viewed by Class Members.  The Class Members are:

    All natural persons upon whom Defendant produced one or more reports which included one or more records older than seven years which included a term listed in Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement in the disposition field from June 23, 2015 through January 27, 2019.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the Settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. The Notice contains only a summary of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement, the Notice, Exhibit A, Exhibit B, and other documents are available on the Important Documents page.  If you are unsure of whether you are in one or both of the Settlement Classes, you can contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-844-546-2346.

    You are one of the Class Members Entitled to Autopay if you are an individual upon whom Defendant produced one or more reports which included one or more records older than seven years which included a term listed in Exhibit B to the Settlement Agreement in the disposition field from June 23, 2015 through January 27, 2019.  Exhibit B to the Settlement Agreement is posted on the Important Documents page.  If you are within this group, you did not need to submit a Claim Form to receive a payment.

    If you are not in this group, you were required to submit a Claim Form by July 9, 2019 to receive a payment.  If you are not sure whether you needed to submit a Claim Form or not, you should contact the Settlement Administrator.  The notice you received in the mail or email should also indicate whether you were required to submit a Claim Form to receive payment.

    The Court in charge of this case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  The lawsuit is called Bankhead v. First Advantage Background Services Corp., Case No. 1:17-cv-02910-LMM.  Latonya Bankhead and Justin Hall, the people who filed this lawsuit, are called the Plaintiffs, and First Advantage is called the Defendant.

  • Plaintiffs allege that First Advantage violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by allegedly producing background reports on certain individuals containing non-conviction information older than seven years from the date of the report.  Plaintiffs allege that this reporting caused harm and violated the law. 

    First Advantage vigorously denies the Plaintiffs’ claim and denies all liability to Plaintiffs and the Class.  First Advantage denies that it has violated the FCRA in any manner whatsoever, and has raised a number of defenses to the claims asserted. 

    The Parties settled the lawsuit to avoid the risks, uncertainties and expenses associated with contested litigation.  No court has found First Advantage to have violated the law in any way.  No court has found that the Plaintiffs or the Class could recover any amount in this lawsuit. 

    Although the Court authorized notice to be given of the proposed Settlement, this Notice does not express the opinion of the Court on the merits of the claims or defenses asserted by either side in the lawsuit.

  • In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the class -- except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the class. Any settlement of the case resolves the claims for all people in the class.  The lawyers appointed by the Court to represent the Class are called “Class Counsel.” 

    The Settlement was approved in this case, therefore fully and finally resolving, on the terms described in the Settlement Agreement, any claims you may have against First Advantage relating to the background report they prepared on you. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Important Documents page.

  • The Court did not decide this case in favor of the Plaintiffs or in favor of First Advantage.  The approved Settlement stopped the Parties from litigating anymore.  If the lawsuit continued, First Advantage would seek the dismissal of the case and oppose class certification, and therefore the potential exists that the Class would receive nothing.  There also is the possibility that First Advantage would be required to pay more than it has agreed to pay as a result of the Settlement. 

    Class Counsel investigated the facts and law regarding the Plaintiffs’ claims and First Advantage’s asserted defenses.  The Parties engaged in extensive and arms-length negotiations to reach this settlement.  Plaintiffs and Class Counsel believe that the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. 

    Both sides agree that, by settling, First Advantage is not admitting any liability or that it did anything wrong.  Both sides wanted to avoid the uncertainties and expense of further litigation. 

  • You are part of the Settlement Class if you are a person upon whom Defendant produced one or more reports which included one or more records older than seven years which included a term listed in Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement, available on the Important Documents page, in the disposition field from June 23, 2015 through January 27, 2019.  If you are part of the Settlement, you should have received a notice in the mail or in your email.

    You are among the approximately 20,628 Class Members entitled to receive an automatic payment if you are an individual upon whom Defendant produced one or more reports which included one or more records older than seven years which included a term listed in Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement in the disposition field from June 23, 2015 through January 27, 2019.  This group of individuals is known as the Class Members Entitled to Autopay, and if you are in this group, you were issued an automatic payment so long as you did not opt out of the Class or object to this settlement.

    If you are not a Class Member Entitled to Autopay you were required to submit a Claim Form by July 9, 2019 to receive a payment. The notice you received in the mail or email indicated whether you were required to submit a Claim Form.  The Claim Form required you to attest First Advantage prepared and provided to a third party a background report regarding the Class Member that included a criminal charge that predated the First Advantage report by more than seven years and that the charge did not result in a criminal conviction.  Upon request made by the Class Member to the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel and forwarded to First Advantage, First Advantage shall provide the Class Member with a copy of the report at issue.

    If you are not certain as to whether you are a Class Member, or whether you were required to file a Claim Form, you may contact the Settlement Administrator to find out.  The Administrator can be reached at 1-844-546-2346. The question of class membership is determined based on First Advantage’s records and investigation. 

  • The Settlement provides money and injunctive relief for Settlement Class Members.  First Advantage provided a settlement fund of $1,975,000.  This money has been used for payment to approximately 24,943 Class Members, and was also used to pay for court-approved attorneys’ fees and costs, Class Representative service payments, and administration costs.

    It was estimated that Settlement Class Members would receive between $56 and $58 each.  Class Members Entitled to Autopay received the same amount as those who submitted a qualifying Claim Form.

    The notice you received in the mail or email tells you if you are a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, in which case you did not need to submit a Claim Form.  The mail or email notice also tells you if you are not a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, in which case you needed to submit a Claim Form by July 9, 2019 to be eligible to receive money from the Settlement.

    In addition to a monetary benefit, the Settlement also provides injunctive relief.  Defendant will conduct training sessions with its employees to reinforce their education regarding compliance with the FCRA’s prohibition on reporting certain aged non-conviction records.  Defendant will audit its obsolescence filters to flag dispositions that are in all instances non-convictions that antedate the report by more than seven years, and if appropriate, remove those dispositions from further reports.  Defendant will also take measures to apply its obsolescence filters to a category of reports known as “non-channeler FBI Reconciliation Reports” to prevent the reporting of dispositions that are in all instances non-convictions (as set forth on Exhibit A to the Settlement Agreement) that antedate the report by more than seven years, unless permitted by the FCRA.

  • If you are a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, you did not need to do anything to get a payment.  If you are not a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, you needed to return the Claim Form that was emailed or mailed to you, postmarked on or before July 9, 2019.  The deadline to file a claim has passed. 

  • The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on September 19, 2019 to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  The Court issued a Final Approval Order approving the Settlement, a copy of which can be found on the Important Documents page.  Checks were mailed to eligible Class Members on October 17, 2019, and the remaining funds from uncashed checks have been redistributed to Class Members who cashed or deposited their initial checks. If you received a second check, please make sure to cash or deposit it before the void date printed on the check.

  • After the Court issued final approval of the Settlement on September 19, 2019, all Class Members (whether or not they timely submitted a properly completed Claim Form) who did not timely and properly opt out of the Settlement Class fully release First Advantage from any and all claims arising out of or relating directly or indirectly in any manner whatsoever to the facts alleged or that could have been alleged or asserted in the lawsuit, including but not limited to any and all claims under 15 U.S.C. § 1681c, and any analogous state law claims.  This release explicitly includes claims for actual damages, statutory damages, and punitive damages, as well as for attorneys’ fees and costs.

    This release may affect your rights. The full terms of the release are contained in the Settlement Agreement.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was July 9, 2019 and has passed.

  • No.  Unless you excluded yourself, you give up any right to sue Defendant for the claims that this settlement resolves, even if you did not submit a Claim Form.  If you have a pending lawsuit, you should speak to your lawyer in that case.

  • No.  If you excluded yourself, you are not part of the Settlement.

  • The Court has appointed Berger Montague PC as Class Counsel:

    E. Michelle Drake
    John G. Albanese
    Berger Montague PC
    43 SE Main Street, Suite 505
    Minneapolis, MN 55414

    You may hire your own attorney to advise you, but if you hire your own attorney, you will be responsible for paying that attorney’s fees.

  • In connection with this settlement, Class Counsel applied to the Court for payment of attorneys’ fees and costs, in an amount not to exceed one-third of the total Gross Settlement Amount, as well as reasonably incurred costs not to exceed $32,000.  The Court evaluated whether this fee request is reasonable in light of Class Counsel’s skill and the risk they undertook in bringing the lawsuit. 

    The Court appointed the Plaintiffs, Latonya Bankhead and Justin Hall, as the Class Representatives.  Class Counsel also sought compensation for their services to the Class Members in an amount of $3,500 for each Class Representative.  This compensation is intended to pay the Class Representatives for the time and effort put into bringing this lawsuit on behalf of everyone in the Settlement Class. 

    The costs of settlement administration are expected to be approximately $63,000. 

    All of these awards are paid directly out of the settlement fund.  The amounts that the Court awarded to Class Counsel, Class Representatives, and the Settlement Administrator are available in the Settlement Agreement on the Important Documents page.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was July 9, 2019 and has passed. 

     

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you believe the Settlement is not fair, adequate, or reasonable.  You could object only if you stayed in the Settlement.  Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Settlement.  If you excluded yourself, you had no basis to object because the litigation no longer affects you.

  • There was a final approval hearing to consider approval of the proposed settlement on September 19, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the United States District Court at Richard B. Russell Federal Building, 2211 United States Courthouse, 75 Ted Turner Drive, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. The purpose of the hearing was to determine the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of the terms of settlement; whether the Settlement Class was adequately represented by the Class Representatives and Class Counsel; and whether an order and Final Judgment would be entered approving the proposed Settlement.  The Court also considered Class Counsel’s application for payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses and the Class Representative’s compensation. The Court issued a Final Approval Order approving the Settlement, a copy of which can be found on the Important Documents page.

    You did not need to appear at the hearing.  You were represented at the Final Approval Hearing by Class Counsel, unless you chose to enter an appearance in person or through your own counsel.  The appearance of your own attorney was not necessary to participate in the hearing.

  • No.  Class Counsel represented the Settlement Class at the final approval hearing.  If you sent any objection, you did not have to go to Court to talk about it, but you could have if you wished.  As long as you timely submitted your written objection, the Court considered it. 

  • You could have asked the Court for permission to speak at the final approval hearing.  To do so, you were required to send with your objection a notice of intention to appear at the hearing by July 9, 2019. The deadline to file a notice of intention to appear has passed.  You could not have spoken at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • The Notice is only a summary.  For a more detailed statement of the matters involved in the litigation or the Settlement, you may refer to the papers filed in this case during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Richard B. Russell Federal Building, 2211 United States Courthouse, 75 Ted Turner Drive, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, File: Bankhead v. First Advantage Background Services Corp, Case No. 1:17-cv-02910-LMM.  The full Settlement Agreement and certain pleadings filed in the case are also available on the Important Documents page or can be requested, in writing or by phone, from the Settlement Administrator.

  • You can review information and important case documents on this website.  This website will be updated with any new information regarding the Settlement, so please check back often.  You may also contact the lawyers representing the Settlement Classes, identified in Question 13 above, or you may call or email the Settlement Administrator.  Please do not contact the Court for information.

For More Information

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

Mail

Bankhead v. First Advantage
c/o JND Legal Administration
PO Box 91312
Seattle, WA 98111