After a battle of motions between the parties, on August 9th a Wisconsin federal judge dismissed a proposed class action for alleged violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) against Cory Groshek. Why is this important? Well, some of you may be familiar with Mr. Groshek as he is a noted (some may say serial) plaintiff who has filed multiple lawsuits and/or sent demand letters to employers alleging violations of the FCRA.
It appears that Mr. Groshek’s master plan was to apply for employment and get to the point where the hiring entity would provide him with the FCRA required disclosure and authorization as part of the background check/investigation. From there, the alleged FCRA violations began either in the form of a lawsuit or a demand letter. Our firm handled one such demand letter by Mr. Groshek.
Same thing happened in the instant case, Mr. Groshek alleged “that he applied for employment with the defendant, and that in the course of considering his application, the defendant obtained a consumer report on him ‘without first providing [him] a clear and conspicuous written disclosure, in a document consisting solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.'” (Decision and Order at 4). Here though, the judge put the brakes on this case noting that nowhere in plaintiff’s complaint did he allege any concrete harm suffered as a result of the alleged violation. The court also stated that while allegations of a statutory violation satisfy the particularized injury prong of the injury-in-fact requirement for standing discussed in Spokeo, that in and of itself does not satisfy the concreteness requirement. (Decision and Order at 5). One damaging statement by Mr. Groshek that the court noted is that during a deposition, when he was asked by defense counsel if he was aware of anything that might entitle him to actual damages he stated, “‘I do not know of any actual damages that I am claiming nor do I believe I’ve ever actually claimed actual damages….'” (Decision and Order at 6).
In the instant case the court granted Time Warner’s motion to dismiss the case, stating that the complaint is dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Ironically, Mr. Groshek requested that the court “seal various portions of his desposition transcipts, supplemental answers to discovery, and any other document that might make mention of any settlement agreement between him and ‘another party.'” (Decision and Order at 7). I’m thinking that’s because he has brought similar claims under the FCRA against at least 40 companies and his master plan may be unraveling. The court denied his request stating, “…plaintiff’s argument [to seal records] ignores the fact that he came to the court–a public forum–and instituted this lawsuit. He sued the defendant on a cause of action for which he has sued a number of other companies, and yet he argues that those other suits are irrelevant to this one. In essence, he indicates that while he wants to be able to file suit against the defendant in federal court, he wants to prevent the defendant from enquiring into similar suits that he has filed against other companies for the same alleged conduct. That is not an appropriate basis for the court to seal documents from public view.” (Decision and Order at 9-10).
Cory Groshek v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., case number 2:15-cv-00157, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.