RIDENOUR AND HALEM, ET AL. V MULTI-COLOR CORP AND STERLING INFOSYSTEMS, INC, ET AL.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, Civil No. 2:15-cv-41

NOTICE OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT

UPDATE: On Friday September 15, 2017 Settlement checks were mailed to Class Members. These checks will be valid for 60 days.

 

If you received a Notice of Class Action Settlement in the mail it is because records indicate that you were the subject of a background check prepared by Sterling Infosystems, Inc. (“Sterling”), provided to a third party that contained at least one criminal record, and either (a) your report was issued between January 29, 2013 and October 31, 2016, you disputed to Sterling the criminal record(s) in your report, and Sterling amended your report as a result of your dispute; or (b) your report was issued between February 15, 2010 and October 31, 2016 and Sterling’s records show you were a Virginia resident at the time of such report.

Plaintiffs Jeffrey Scott Ridenour and Amin Halem were required by their prospective employers to submit to a background check as a condition of employment.  Sterling prepared consumer reports for Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem for these employers.  Plaintiffs each claimed that the consumer report prepared about him contained inaccurate or incomplete criminal information.  Mr. Halem disputed the accuracy of the information in his report, and Sterling changed his report as a result of his dispute.

Plaintiffs sued Sterling because they believe that Sterling violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law. The FCRA requires Sterling to provide notice to a consumer when it furnishes a report to an employer that contains a criminal record item, or otherwise maintain strict procedures to ensure its reports are complete and up to date. 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a).

Sterling has denied all claims and allegations of wrongdoing asserted in the Lawsuit and contends that it acted lawfully and in compliance with the FCRA.  Notwithstanding that Sterling denies liability and any alleged unlawful conduct, Sterling has decided it is in its best interest to settle the Lawsuit to avoid the burden, expense, risk and uncertainty of continuing the Lawsuit.

In a class action lawsuit, a person who is called a “Class Representative” (in this case, Jeffrey Scott Ridenour and Amin Halem) sues on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The persons who sued – Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem – are called the Plaintiffs or the Named Plaintiffs.  The company they sued (Sterling) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to remove themselves from the Class.

Your legal rights will be affected by the Settlement of this Lawsuit. Please read your notice carefully. It explains the Lawsuit, the Settlement, and your legal rights, including the process for receiving a settlement check, excluding yourself from the Settlement, or objecting to the Settlement.

 

This settlement involves the following two Classes:

Virginia Opt-In Class:

Submit Claim Online

Sterling’s records indicate that you were the subject of a consumer report by Sterling and that report contained criminal record information that was provided to a third party between February 15, 2010 and October 31, 2016, and that your primary residence at the time of the report was a Virginia address. If the criminal record(s) in your consumer report were incomplete or not up to date, you may Claim a Virginia Opt-In Class payment in this settlement.

Specifically, for the purposes of settlement only, the Court has provisionally certified a Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class defined as follows:

All natural persons (i) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Sterling on any platform of Sterling except ESIQ to a third party from February 15, 2010 through October 31, 2016, (ii) who had a primary residential address in the Commonwealth of Virginia that was provided to Sterling in requesting such report, (iii) whose consumer reports contained at least one criminal record, (iv) who affirmatively opt in and complete a claim form certifying that their consumer report(s) was/were incomplete or not up to date; and (v) where no notice was sent under 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a)(1).

Automatic Payment Class:

Sterling’s records indicate that you were the subject of a consumer report prepared by Sterling and that report contained criminal information that was sold to a third party between January 29, 2013 and October 31, 2016. Thereafter you directly or indirectly disputed such criminal record information contained in your consumer report, which resulted in an amendment to the criminal record information contained in the report.

Specifically, for the purposes of settlement only, the Court has provisionally certified an Automatic Payment Class defined as follows:

All natural persons residing in the United States (including all territories and other political subdivisions of the United States) (i) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Sterling on any platform of Sterling to a third party from January 29, 2013 through October 31, 2016, (ii) whose report contained a criminal record, (iii) who then directly or indirectly disputed such criminal record contained in their consumer report with Sterling, and (iv) whose dispute resulted in an amendment to the criminal record of their report. 

 

Below is a listing of the Frequently Asked Questions. There are two Classes involved in this Settlement, the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class and the Automatic Payment Settlement Class. To determine which Class your are a part of, refer to the Notice that was mailed to you. The Notice that was mailed to you indicates which Class you are a member of, just above the first paragraph on page one and in the lower right corner of the subsequent pages of that Notice.The answers to these questions depend on which Class you are in. Please review the answers carefully.

  1. WHAT ARE YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

       

      YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT

      IF YOU

      RETURN AN

      OPT-IN FORM

       To share in a portion of the Settlement fund, you must return the Opt-In Form at the end of this Notice package. Otherwise, you are not in this Virginia Opt-In Class and will not receive a payment in that Class.  If the Court approves the Settlement and you have postmarked your form by June 16, 2017, you will receive a cash payment of a pro-rata payment of a settlement fund created for the Class – estimated to be between $20.00 and $85.00.  You will not be able to sue Sterling for any of the claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, except that you will retain the right to bring an individual claim for any alleged inaccuracy of the report Sterling issued about you.

      IF YOU DO NOTHING

      You will not be a member of this Virginia Opt-In Class and you will not be affected by this Settlement, unless you are also a member of the second class (and received a second class notice of the “Automatic Payment” Class).

      IF YOU

      OBJECT

      If you want to become a part of this Virginia Opt-In Class, but do not otherwise like the Settlement, you should submit the attached claim form, but also follow the instructions below to Object to this Settlement.   The Court will consider your views when deciding whether the Settlement is fair.  If the Court still approves the Settlement, you will receive the Settlement cash payment estimated above, but you will give up the rights described above.

       

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

       

      YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT

      IF YOU DO NOTHING

      If the Court approves the Settlement and you do nothing, you will receive a cash payment of a pro-rata payment of a settlement fund created for the Class – estimated to be between $20 and $85. You will not be able to sue Sterling for any claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act except that you will retain the right to bring an individual claim for any alleged inaccuracy of reports Sterling issued about you.

      IF YOU

      EXCLUDE YOURSELF

      FROM THE SETTLEMENT

      Get out of this Lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep your rights.

      If you ask to be excluded, you won’t receive any money from the Settlement. But, you keep any rights to sue Sterling separately about the same legal claims in this Lawsuit that you otherwise would have had.

      No attorney will represent you unless you hire your own attorney.

      IF YOU

      OBJECT

      You may write to the Court and tell it what you don’t like about the Settlement. You will remain a part of the Class and will share in the Settlement. The Court will consider your views when deciding whether the Settlement is fair.

       

  2. WHY DID I RECEIVED THIS NOTICE?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

      You may be permitted to join and become a member of the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class and be affected by the Settlement because Sterling’s records indicate that you were the subject of a consumer report by Sterling and that report contained criminal record information that was provided to a third party between February 15, 2010 and October 31, 2016, and that your primary residence at the time of the report was a Virginia address. If the criminal record(s) in your consumer report were incomplete or not up to date, you may Claim a Virginia Opt-In Class payment in this settlement.

      Specifically, for the purposes of settlement only, the Court has provisionally certified a Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class defined as follows:

      All natural persons (i) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Sterling on any platform of Sterling except ESIQ to a third party from February 15, 2010 through October 31, 2016, (ii) who had a primary residential address in the Commonwealth of Virginia that was provided to Sterling in requesting such report, (iii) whose consumer reports contained at least one criminal record, (iv) who affirmatively opt in and complete a claim form certifying that their consumer report(s) was/were incomplete or not up to date; and (v) where no notice was sent under 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a)(1).

      If you timely affirmatively opt in by completing a claim form certifying that your background report from Sterling was incomplete or not up to date; you will become a Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class Member.

      A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the settlement.

       

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

      You are a member of the Automatic Payment Settlement Class and are affected by the Settlement because Sterling’s records indicate that you were the subject of a consumer report prepared by Sterling and that contained criminal information that was sold to a third party between January 29, 2013 and October 31, 2016. Thereafter you directly or indirectly disputed such criminal record information contained in your consumer report, which resulted in an amendment to the criminal record information contained in the report.

       

      Specifically, for the purposes of settlement only, the Court has provisionally certified a Settlement Class defined as follows:

      All natural persons residing in the United States (including all territories and other political subdivisions of the United States) (i) who were the subject of a consumer report sold by Sterling on any platform of Sterling to a third party from January 29, 2013 through October 31, 2016, (ii) whose report contained a criminal record, (iii) who then directly or indirectly disputed such criminal record contained in their consumer report with Sterling, and (iv) whose dispute resulted in an amendment to the criminal record of their report. 

      If you fall within the foregoing Settlement Class definition, you will be an Automatic Payment Settlement Class Member unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class.

      A Court authorized the notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your options before the Court decides whether to give “final approval” to the settlement.

  3. WHAT IS THIS LAWSUIT ABOUT?

    1. Answer for both Settlement Classes

      Plaintiffs Jeffrey Scott Ridenour and Amin Halem are Virginia residents who were required by their prospective employers to submit to a background check as a condition of employment. Sterling prepared consumer reports for Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem for these employers.  Plaintiffs each claimed that the consumer report prepared about report contained inaccurate or incomplete criminal information. Mr. Halem disputed the accuracy of the information in his report, and Sterling issued a new report.

      Plaintiffs sued Sterling because they believe that Sterling violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law. The FCRA requires Sterling to provide notice to a consumer when it furnishes a report to an employer that contains one or more public records of any type that may adversely affect an employer’s hiring decision, or otherwise maintain strict procedures to ensure its reports are complete and up to date. 15 U.S.C. § 1681k(a).

      In a class action lawsuit, a person who is called a “Class Representative” (in this case, Jeffrey Scott Ridenour and Amin Halem) sues on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The persons who sued – Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem – are called the Plaintiffs or the Named Plaintiffs.  The company they sued (Sterling) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to remove themselves from the Class.

      Sterling has denied all claims and allegations of wrongdoing asserted in the Lawsuit and contends that it acted lawfully and in compliance with the FCRA.  Notwithstanding that Sterling denies liability and any alleged unlawful conduct, Sterling has decided it is in its best interest to settle the Lawsuit to avoid the burden, expense, risk and uncertainty of continuing the Lawsuit.

  4. WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION AND WHO IS INVOLVED?

    1. Answer for both Settlement Classes

      In a class action lawsuit, a person who is called a “Class Representative” (in this case, Jeffrey Scott Ridenour and Amin Halem) sues on behalf of other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “Class” or “Class Members.” The persons who sued – Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem – are called the Plaintiffs or the Named Plaintiffs. The company they sued (Sterling) is called the Defendant. One court resolves the issues for everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to remove themselves from the Class.

       

  5. WHAT DOES THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDE?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

      You are entitled to a cash payment if you return a valid Opt-In Form, postmarked by June 16, 2017. Sterling has agreed to create a settlement fund of $5,900,000 that will be paid equally to members of the Virginia-only Class who return their Opt-In Forms on time, and automatically to members of the Automatic Payment Settlement Class.

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

      You are entitled to an automatic cash payment if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. Sterling has agreed to create a settlement fund of $5,900,000 that will be divided between this Class automatically, and also with members of the Virginia-only class who return an Opt-In Claim Form.

  6. HOW MUCH MONEY WILL I RECEIVE?

    1. Answer pertains to both Settlement Classes

      The amount of money paid to each class member will be a pro rata (equal) distribution from the Settlement Fund, without any cap on the payment.  The amount you will receive will depend on how many Class Members can be found, how many exclude themselves, and the number of Virginia-only class members who return valid Opt-In Forms. Your payment will first be reduced by the Court-approved attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel, any necessary administrative fees, and Service Awards for Mr. Ridenour and Mr. Halem.

      If every possible class member claimed a payment, and taking into consideration Court-approved attorneys’ fees, administrative fees and expenses, your payment could be as low as $20.00.  However, if only 5% of Virginia Opt-In Class members return a claim form, the expected recovery would be about $85.00. 

  7. WHAT AM I GIVING UP TO GET A BENEFIT OR STAY IN THE SETTLEMENT CLASS?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

      If you return your Opt-In Form on time and if the Settlement is approved, you will not be allowed to sue Sterling on any of the claims that are settled. You will release all claims you may or could base on violation of the FCRA or any other federal, state or local law, statute, regulation or common law, that involve a consumer report prepared by Sterling that contained at least one public record. However, you will not release the right to file an individual civil action (as contrasted with another class action) to pursue an individual claim for actual damages under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) based on alleged inaccuracies in any consumer report that Sterling provided about you.

      The formal release language and description of the Released Parties are included in the formal Settlement Agreement, which is available HERE

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

      If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement and if the Settlement is approved, you will not be allowed to sue Sterling on any of the claims that are settled.  You will release all claims you may or could base on violation of the FCRA or any other federal, state or local law, statute, regulation or common law, that involve a consumer report prepared by Sterling that contained at least one public record. However, you will not release the right to file an individual civil action (as contrasted with another class action) to pursue an individual claim for actual damages under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) based on alleged inaccuracies in any consumer report that Sterling provided about you.

      The formal release language and description of the Released Parties are included in the formal Settlement Agreement, which is available HERE.

  8. HOW DO I EXCLUDE MYSELF?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

      If you do nothing, you will not be a member of this Virginia Opt-In Class and you will not be affected by this Settlement, unless you are also a member of the second class (and received a second class notice of the “Automatic Payment” Class).

       

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

       

      You will not receive any monetary payments from the Settlement if you exclude yourself.

       

      You may “opt out” or completely exclude yourself from the settlement as explained below.

      REQUESTS FOR EXCLUSION THAT ARE NOT POSTMARKED ON OR BEFORE June 16, 2017 WILL NOT BE HONORED.

      If you exclude yourself, you should promptly consult your own attorney about your rights, as the time to file an individual lawsuit is limited.

      You can opt out by completing and returned the Opt-Out Form located HERE to the Settlement Administrator, or by sending a written request for exclusion to the Settlement Administrator.

       

      MAILING ADDRESS TO SUBMIT YOUR OPT-OUT FORM:

       

      Ridenour and Halem v. Multicolor Corp and Sterling Infosystems, Inc.,

      c/o Settlement Administrator – EXCLUSION REQUEST,

      P.O. Box 23648, Jacksonville, FL 32241-3648.

       

      If you send a written request in lieu of the Opt-Out form located HERE,  your written request must include your original signature, current postal address, and a specific statement that you want to be excluded from the Ridenour and Halem v. Multi-Color Corporation and Sterling Infosystems, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-41 Settlement Class.

      Opt Outs must be postmarked no later than June 16, 2017.

       

       

  9. DO I HAVE A LAWYER IN THIS CASE AND HOW WILL THE LAWYERS BE PAID?

    1. This answer applies to both Settlement Classes

      The Class Representatives retained Leonard A. Bennett, Susan M. Rotkis, and Craig C. Marchiando, Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C., 763 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Suite 1-A, Newport News, VA 23601; Kristi Kelly and Andrew Guzzo, Kelly & Crandall, PLC, 4084 University Dr. #202a, Fairfax, VA 22030;  James A. Francis and David A. Searles, Francis & Mailman, P.C.,   100 South Broad Street, Suite 1902, Philadelphia, PA 19110; and Scott Surovell, Surovell Isaacs Peterson & Levy, PLC, 4010 University Drive, Second Floor, Fairfax, VA 22030, to represent them. In connection with the preliminary approval of the Settlement, the Court appointed these attorneys to represent you and other Class Members.  Together, the lawyers are called Class Counsel.  You will not be separately charged by these lawyers for their work on the case.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

      Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs of an amount not to exceed 33% of the Settlement Fund to be paid by Sterling, which Sterling has agreed not to oppose.  However, the Court may ultimately award less than the amount requested.  The costs of this notice to you and the costs of administering the settlement are paid by Sterling and will not reduce the settlement received by class members, unless such administration costs exceed $200,000. Additionally, the Class Representatives will ask the Court to approve a payment to Jeffrey Ridenour and Amin Halem in an amount not to exceed $5,000 each, as a service award for their efforts and time expended in prosecuting this case.  The Court may ultimately award less than this amount or nothing at all.

       

  10. HOW DO I TELL THE COURT THAT I DO NOT LIKE THE SETTLEMENT?

    1. Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Virginia Opt-In Settlement Class

      If you submit a Virginia Opt-In Class claim form attached to this Notice, you can also object if you think any part of the Settlement is unfair, unreasonable, and/or inadequate.  If you choose to object, you can and should explain the detailed reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement.  The Court and Class Counsel will consider your views carefully.  To object, you must send a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in the Ridenour and Halem v. Multi-Color Corporation and Sterling Infosystems, Inc. case.  Be sure to include (1) the name of this Lawsuit, Ridenour and Halem v. Multi-Color Corporation and Sterling Infosystems, Inc., Civil Action No 2:15-cv-41; (2) your full name, current address and telephone number; (3) a sentence stating that to the best of your knowledge, you are a member of the settlement class; and (4) the factual basis and legal grounds for the objection to the Settlement.  Mail this Objection to the Court at the address below so that it is postmarked no later than June 16, 2017. Objections to the Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees or the requested service awards may be supplemented up to seven (7) days after the filing of a motion for such fees or awards to address additional information or materials in that motion.

       

      Clerk of the Court

      United States District Court

      600 Granby Street

      Norfolk, VA 23510

       

      There are additional requirements necessary for your attorney if you retain one. These requirements are stated in the Settlement Agreement and Preliminary Approval Order.

       

      Answer if you received the Notice of Class Action Settlement for the Automatic Payment Settlement Class

      If you are a Settlement Class Member and do not exclude yourself from the Settlement, you can object if you think any part of the Settlement is unfair, unreasonable, and/or inadequate.  If you choose to object, you can and should explain the detailed reasons why you think the Court should not approve the Settlement.  The Court and Class Counsel will consider your views carefully.  To object, you must send a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in the Ridenour and Halem v. Multi-Color Corporation and Sterling Infosystems, Inc. case.  Be sure to include (1) the name of this Lawsuit, Ridenour and Halem v. Multi-Color Corporation and Sterling Infosystems, Inc., Civil Action No 2:15-cv-41; (2) your full name, current address and telephone number; (3) a sentence stating that to the best of your knowledge, you are a member of the settlement class; and (4) the factual basis and legal grounds for the objection to the Settlement. Mail this Objection to the Court at the address below so that it is postmarked no later than June 16, 2017. Objections to the Class Counsel’s attorneys’ fees or the requested service awards may be supplemented up to seven (7) days after the filing of a motion for such fees or awards to address additional information or materials in that motion.

       

      Clerk of the Court

      United States District Court

      600 Granby Street

      Norfolk, VA 23510

       

      There are additional requirements necessary for your attorney if you retain one. These requirements are stated in the Settlement Agreement and Preliminary Approval Order.

  11. HOW CAN I REQUEST A COPY OF MY BACKGROUND REPORT?

    1. To request a copy of your consumer report, click the following link and complete the requested information:  

      https://www.sterlingtalentsolutions.com/requestmyrhreport/

      Alternatively, you can request your report by submitting your first, middle and last name, current address and the last four digits of your social security number to: [email protected]

      Please request your report by May 27, 2017 to ensure you receive a copy of your report before the June 16, 2017 deadline to submit your claim form to be a member of the Virginia Opt-In Class and/or to exclude yourself from the Automated Payment Class.

  12. WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

    1. You may contact the Settlement Administrator or Class Counsel if you have additional questions about the lawsuit, the settlement, or your rights.

       

      Settlement Administrator

      Ridenour and Halem v. Multicolor Corp and Sterling Infosystems, Inc.,

      c/o Settlement Administrator

      PO Box 23648

      Jacksonville, FL 32241-3648

      (800) 290-3037

       

      Class Counsel

      Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C.

      763 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Suite 1-A

      Newport News, VA 23601

      (757) 930-3660

Privacy Statement