Gregory Howell v. Checkr, Inc.
Howell v. Checkr, Inc. Settlement
Case No. 3:17-cv-04305-SK

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • The Court in this case has approved the posting of the Notice on this website so that it could be viewed by Class Members. The Notice is located here.

    The Class Members are:

    all natural persons upon whom Defendant produced a report which included records older than seven years, which included the following terms in the “charge type” field: “infraction,” “ordinance,” “violation,” “petty offense,” “traffic,” “citation,” and “civil,” from July 28, 2015 to March 20, 2018.

    Class membership is determined on the basis of Checkr’s records. If you are unsure of whether you are a Class Member, you can contact the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-747-6674.

    The Notice has been posted because Class Members have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a lawsuit in which they are class members, and about all their options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, and after objections or appeals relating to that settlement are resolved, the benefits provided for by the settlement will be available to members of the Settlement Class.

    If you are a Class Member, you should have received an e-mail and/or postcard mailing informing you whether you are a member of the Class Members Entitled to Autopay or if you are a member who is required to submit a Claim Form before receiving payment.

    You are one of the Class Members Entitled to Autopay if you are an individual (1) upon whom Defendant produced a consumer report between July 28, 2015 and March 20, 2018; and (2) the report included a North Carolina, Florida, or Virginia record of an “infraction” older than seven years from the date of the report; and/or (3) the report included infraction or other qualifying low-level offense records older than seven years from the date of the report, you disputed information the report, and the dispute resulted in a change to the entries on the report which were more than seven years old. As explained in paragraph 5 below, if you are within this group, you need not submit a Claim Form to receive a payment.

    If you are not in this group, you need to submit a Claim Form to receive a payment. If you are not sure whether you need to submit a claim form or not, you may contact the Settlement Administrator.

    The Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them. A full copy of the Settlement Agreement may be reviewed here.

    The Court in charge of this case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit is called Gregory Howell v. Checkr, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-04305 (the “Litigation”). Gregory Howell, the person who filed this lawsuit, is called the Plaintiff, and Checkr is called the Defendant.

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

    Checkr vigorously denies the Plaintiff’s claim and denies all liability to Plaintiff and the Class. Checkr denies that it has violated the FCRA in any manner whatsoever, and has raised a number of defenses to the claims asserted. In particular, Checkr maintains that the background reports it produced fully complied with the FCRA and that its reports did not harm anyone.

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

    Although the Court has 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 Litigation.

  • Class actions are lawsuits in which the claims and rights of many people are decided in a single proceeding. In a class action, a representative Plaintiff is called a “Class Representative.” That Plaintiff seeks to assert claims on behalf of all similarly situated people. The Plaintiff can thus conserve resources by asserting all the claims in one lawsuit. Class actions often involve circumstances where claimed individual damages are too small for people to proceed on their own, but where the defendant’s alleged conduct possibly affected a number of people in the same way.

    Lawyers who represent people who file class actions are called “class counsel.” The lawyers who brought this case (“Class Counsel”) have not yet been paid any money for their work and have paid all their expenses out of pocket. They will be paid only if they win the lawsuit or if the Court approves the settlement.

  • The Court did not decide this case in favor of the Plaintiff or in favor of Checkr. If approved, the settlement will stop the Parties from litigating anymore. If the lawsuit continued, Checkr would seek the dismissal of the case and oppose class certification, and therefore the potential exists that the Settlement Class would receive nothing. There also is the possibility that Checkr 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 Plaintiff’s claims and Checkr’s defenses. The Parties engaged in extensive and arms-length negotiations to reach this settlement. Plaintiff 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, Checkr is not admitting any liability or that it did anything wrong. Both sides want 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 a report from July 28, 2015 to March 20, 2018 and the report included records older than seven years, which included the following terms in the “charge type” field: “infraction,” “ordinance,” “violation,” “petty offense,” “traffic,” “citation,” and/or “civil.”

    You are among the approximately 56,629 Class Members entitled to receive an automatic payment if you are an individual (1) upon whom Defendant produced a consumer report between July 28, 2015 and March 20, 2018; and (2) the report included a North Carolina, Florida, or Virginia record of an “infraction” older than seven years from the date of the report; and/or the report included infraction or other qualifying low-level offense records older than seven years, you disputed information on the report, and the dispute resulted in a change to the entries on the report which were more than seven years old. This group of individuals is known as the Class Members Entitled to Autopay, and if you are in this group you will receive an automatic payment so long as you do not opt out of the Class or object to this settlement. If you are not a Class Member Entitled to Autopay you must submit a Claim Form to receive a payment.

    If you have received the email or Postcard Notice, Checkr’s records indicate you are a member of the Settlement Class. The email or Postcard Notice will tell you if you are a Class Member Entitled to Autopay (in which case you do not need to submit a Claim Form) or are not a Class Members Entitled to Autopay (in which case you do need to submit a Claim Form if you want a payment). If you are not certain as to whether you are a Class Member, or whether you are required to file a Claim Form, you may contact the Settlement Administrator to find out. The Administrator can be reached at 1-833-747-6674. The question of class membership will be determined based on Checkr’s records and investigation.

  • The Settlement provides money and injunctive relief for Settlement Class Members. Checkr will provide a settlement fund of $4,460,000. This money will be available for payment to approximately 100,959 Class Members, and will also be used to pay for any court-approved attorneys’ fees, Class Representative Service Payment, and Administration Costs.

    The exact amount each Class Member will receive will depend on the amount of fees, service payments and costs, as well as the number of qualifying Claim Forms returned. Class Members Entitled to Autopay will receive a payment without submitting a Claim Form. It is estimated that Settlement Class Members will receive between $40 and $50 each. The ultimate amount could be more or less than this estimate. Class Members Entitled to Autopay will receive the same amount as those who submit a qualifying Claim Form.

    The email or Postcard Notice you received will tell you if you are a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, in which case you did not need to submit a Claim Form. The email or Postcard Notice will also tell you if you are not a Class Member Entitled to Autopay, in which case you needed to submit a Claim Form to be eligible to receive money from the settlement. After you submitted a Claim Form, Class Counsel reviewed your records to determine if you were eligible to receive a payment.

    In addition to a monetary benefit, the settlement also provides injunctive relief, including ensuring that, for at least 18 months, Checkr will maintain filters designed to ensure that no records with the following charge types, which are older than seven years, will be reported: “infraction” “ordinance,” “violation,” “petty offense,” “traffic,” “citation,” and “civil.” In the event Checkr seeks to change this policy after 18 months, it must consult information generated as a result of this settlement about which offenses are criminal or non-criminal, and it must also consult with an expert before making any such change.

  • 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. The deadline to submit a Claim Form was October 24, 2018 and has passed.

    If you change your address, you must mail a notification of your new address to the Settlement Administrator or submit a change of address online here.

  • Settlement Benefits were distributed to eligible Class Members on January 3, 2019.

  • Upon the Court’s approval of the settlement, 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 released Checkr 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. To view the full terms of the release, which are contained in the Settlement Agreement, please visit the Important Documents page.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the Settlement was October 24, 2018 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you have given 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, P.C. and Schneider Wallace as Class Counsel:

    E. Michelle Drake
    Berger & Montague, P.C
    43 SE Main Street, Suite 505
    Minneapolis, MN 55414

    Carolyn Cottrell
    Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP
    2000 Powell Street, Suite 1400
    Emeryville, CA 94608

    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.

  • Class Counsel applied to the Court for payment of attorneys’ fees and costs, in an amount not to exceed 25% of the total Gross Settlement Amount plus 25% of the value of the injunctive relief, as well as reasonably incurred costs. 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 approved Class Counsel's application for $1,115,000 in attorneys' fees and $59,465.12 in costs.

    The Court has appointed the Plaintiff, Gregory Howell, as the Class Representative. Class Counsel sought compensation for his services to the Class Members, and the Court approved a service award in the amount of $3,500. This compensation is to pay the Class Representative for the time and effort put into bringing this lawsuit on behalf of everyone in the Settlement Class.

    The Court approved Settlement Administrator's expenses in an amount not to exceed $194,000. All of these amounts will be paid directly from the Settlement Amount as set forth in the Settlement Agreement.

  • The deadline to object to the Settlement was October 24, 2018 and has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the lawsuit no longer affects you.

  • The Court held a Final Approval Hearing to consider approval of the proposed settlement on December 3, 2018 at 11:00 AM in the United States District Court at the Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, California. 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 should 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. After the Final Approval Hearing, the Court approved the Settlement on December 13, 2018.

    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, but you were welcome to come at your own expense. If you sent any objection, you did not have to come to Court to talk about it, but you may have. As long as you timely submitted your written objection, the Court considered it. You may also have paid your own lawyer to attend.

  • You may have asked the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing. To do so, you must have sent with your objection a notice of intention to appear at the Hearing. You could not speak at the Hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • The Notice is only a summary. For a more detailed statement of the matters involved in the lawsuit 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 California at the Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco, California, File: Howell v. Checkr, Inc., Case No. 3:17-cv-04305. The full Settlement Agreement and certain pleadings filed in the case are also available here or can be requested, in writing or by phone, from the Settlement Administrator.

  • You can visit the Important Documents page, call the Settlement Administrator at 1-833-747-6674 or contact the lawyers representing the Settlement Class, identified in Question 13 above. Please do not contact the Court for information.

For More Information

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

Mail

Howell v. Checkr, Inc.
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91306
Seattle, WA 98111