On Thursday, May 29, 2014, defendant New England Motor Freight (“NEMF”) agreed to a $870,500 settlement of a putative class action claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act pending in New Jersey federal court. The class complaint alleged that NEMF had purchased consumer reports for potential job applicants from various wholesalers without first asking for permission from the applicants. The class representative, Leonard Smith, claimed that NEMF also took adverse action against certain applicants based on the reports. Further, the complaint alleged that NEMF failed to provide class members with a summary of their rights under the FCRA, as required by the federal statute.
NEMF denied liability in conjunction with the settlement, for which 1,890 preliminary class members filed timely and complete claim forms. The class members whose consumer reports were checked without their knowledge will receive up to $333 each, and a sub-class who were explicitly denied employment after the credit checks will get up to $800 each. 30% of the total fund will pay for attorneys’ fees, and the class representative will receive a $5,000 incentive award.