North Carolina Complaint Against Sterling Infosystems for Reporting False Criminal Record, Mixing Consumer’s Information

September 19th, 2011 by krista

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

CHARLOTTE DIVISION

                                                                                   

John Doe

                                                                                               COMPLAINT

                                    Plaintiff,                                          

                                                                                   Civil Action No.

            vs.                                                                              

                                                                                              

STERLING INFOSYSTEMS, INC.           

                                                                                                                                               Defendant.

 

                                                                             

COMPLAINT

 

I.          PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

1.         This is an action for damages brought by an individual consumer against the Defendants for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (hereafter the “FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §1681 et seq.as amended, and various other state laws.

II.        JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2.         Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1681p, 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1337, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367.

3.         Venue lies properly in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b).

III.       PARTIES

            4.         Plaintiff  is an adult individual, who resides in NC.

5.         Defendant Sterling Infosystems, Inc. (hereafter “Sterling”) is a business entity that regularly conducts business in Western District of North Carolina, which has a principal place of business located at 249 West 17thStreet, Floor 6, New York, NY 10011.

 

IV.       FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

            6.         Defendant has been reporting derogatory and inaccurate statements and information relating to Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s criminal record to third parties (hereafter the “inaccurate information”).

7.         The inaccurate information includes, but is not limited to, 1993 felony charges of 1) possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, 2) transporting a controlled substance; and 3) possession of a controlled substance.

8.         The inaccurate information negatively reflects upon the Plaintiff and paints him as a serial criminal.  The inaccurate information consists of incorrect statements which misrepresent his criminal history as well as incorrect personal identifying information.

9.         The derogatory inaccuracies appear to be caused by the Defendant’s mixing of Plaintiff Richard Dean Smith’s consumer report with that of other consumers with similar names.  Any rudimentary inspection of the data would reveal the inaccuracy.  Defendant obviously failed to employ such a procedure.

10.       Defendant has been reporting the inaccurate information through the issuance of consumer reports which Defendant has disseminated to various persons and potential employers, both known and unknown.

11.       Plaintiff has applied for and has been denied employment as a maintenance supervisor at a prestigious property near his home in Charlotte and Plaintiff has been informed that the basis for this denial was the inaccurate information that appears on Plaintiff’s consumer reports and that the inaccurate information was a substantial factor for the denial.

12.       Plaintiff’s consumer reports and file have been obtained from Defendant and have been reviewed by at least one prospective employer, and the inaccurate information has been a substantial factor in precluding Plaintiff from receiving offers and opportunities for employment.

13.       As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual damages and serious financial and pecuniary harm arising from monetary losses relating to lost wages, loss of occupational opportunities and other expenses, all of which will continue into the future to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

14.       As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered great emotional and mental pain and anguish, and Plaintiff will continue to suffer the same for an indefinite time in the future, all to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

15.       As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has suffered actual damages in the form of financial and dignitary harm arising from the injury to Plaintiff’s reputation and Plaintiff will continue to suffer the same for an indefinite time in the future, all to Plaintiff’s great detriment and loss.

16.       At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant was acting by and through its agents, servants and/or employees who were acting within the course and scope of their agency or employment, and under the direct supervision and control of the Defendant herein.

17.       At all times pertinent hereto, the conduct of the Defendant, as well as that of its agents, servants and/or employees, was malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, and in grossly negligent disregard for federal and state laws and the rights of the Plaintiff herein.

V.        COUNT ONE- VIOLATIONS OF THE FCRA

(Plaintiff v. Sterling)

            18.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.

19.       At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant Sterling was a “person” and “consumer reporting agency” as those terms are defined by 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681a(b) and (f).

21.       At all times pertinent hereto, the Plaintiff was a “consumer” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(c).

22.       At all times pertinent hereto, the above-mentioned consumer reports were “consumer reports” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1681a(d).

23.       Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1681n and 15 U.S.C. §1681o, Defendant Sterling is liable to the Plaintiff for engaging in the following conduct:

(a)    willfully and negligently failing to employ and follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff’s credit report, information and file, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §1681e(b);

(b)   willfully and negligently continuing to report the inaccurate information despite having knowledge of its inaccuracy and/or inability to be verified.

24.       The conduct of Defendant Sterling was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, actual damages and harm to the Plaintiff outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant Sterling is liable to the Plaintiff for the full amount of statutory, actual and punitive damages, along with the attorneys’ fees and the costs of litigation, as well as such further relief, as may be permitted by law.

VI.       COUNT TWO – DEFAMATION

(Plaintiff v. Sterling)

 

25.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.

26.       Defendant Sterling has published statements both orally and through writing to various individuals, prospective employers, other consumer reporting agencies, and other entities that the above-referenced derogatory inaccurate information belongs to the Plaintiff.

27.       Defendant Sterling has published these statements each time a consumer report on the Plaintiff has been requested from any employer, prospective employer or other source.

28.       The statements made by Defendant Sterling are false in that they inaccurately reflect Plaintiff’s identifying information and criminal record and paint Plaintiff as violent and dangerous.

29.       Defendant Sterling has published these statements to at least every individual, employer or prospective employer or other entity that has requested Plaintiff’s consumer report.

30.       The written statements and publications constitute libel per se.

31.       Defendant Sterling’s conduct was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, damages and harm to the Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant Sterling is liable to compensate the Plaintiff for the full amount of actual damages, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as such other relief, permitted under the law.

VII.     COUNT THREE – NEGLIGENCE

(Plaintiff v. Sterling)

 

            32.       Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as if the same were set forth at length herein.

33.       Defendant Sterling’s negligence consists of the following:

(a)    violating the FCRA as set forth above;

(b)   failing to provide prompt notice of the inaccurate information to individuals who purchased and/or accessed Plaintiff’s reports with said inaccuracies;

(c)    failing to employ and follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of Plaintiff’s consumer report, information and file;

(d)   failing to properly and timely delete the inaccurate information from the Plaintiff’s credit files despite being unable to verify the accuracy of the information and/or being provided with proof of its inaccuracy; and

(e)    continuing to report the inaccurate information despite having knowledge of its inaccuracy and/or inability to be verified.

34.       As a result of Defendant Sterling’s above mentioned conduct, Plaintiff sustained and continues to sustain the losses and damages as set forth above.

35.       The conduct of Defendant Sterling was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, damages and harm to Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant Sterling is liable to compensate the Plaintiff for the full amount of actual and compensatory damages, as well as such other relief, permitted under the law.

VIII.     JURY TRIAL DEMAND

40.      Plaintiff demands trial by jury on all issues so triable.

IX.     PRAYER FOR RELIEF

            WHEREFORE, Plaintiff seeks judgment in Plaintiff’s favor and damages against the Defendant, based on the following requested relief:

(a)    Actual damages;

(b)   Statutory damages;

(c)    Punitive damages;

(d)   Costs and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§1681n and 1681o;

(e)    An order directing that Defendant immediately delete all of the inaccurate information from Plaintiff’s consumer reports and files and cease reporting the inaccurate information to any and all persons and entities to whom they report consumer information;

(f)    An order directing that Defendant Sterling send to all persons and entities to whom they have reported Plaintiff’s inaccurate information within the last three years Plaintiff’s updated and corrected consumer report information; and

(g)   Such other and further relief as may be necessary, just and proper.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,


3 Responses

  1. Roby says:

    I had a similar situation almost 20 years ago and sterling report did not have accurate information or is not doing a deep investigation. Wrong information in a background report is critical in today’s hiring process.

  2. Rebeka says:

    I have a situation like that going on now. Sterling report states that I am a Level 1 sex offender. I don’t know what to do about it. I have been to the sheriffs office in the city and state they stated the charge was out of to no avail. They have no record of the offense. I have no idea what to do from here.

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