Class Action Against Cannabis Company to Proceed

In an opinion issued late last week, a Middle District of Florida judge certified the class in a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) complaint which alleged that a cannabis company did not adequately inform over 1,000 employment applicants of their rights before rescinding employment offers due to the results of a background check.

The opinion explained that the defendant, Truelive, stands accused of violating a statute which requires that potential employees subject to a background check to be provided a copy of the report and notice of their rights. The named plaintiff said that Truelive admitted to mistakenly rescinding his employment offer based on the report, and did not provide him any way to remedy the issue.

The bulk of the opinion concerned the key elements for class certification; numerosity of the class, commonality of the claims, typicality of the claims of the lead plaintiff, and whether a class action is an adequate remedy to the claims. The opinion revealed that 1,047 potential employees faced adverse action due to criminal background check results, satisfying the numerosity requirement. The court also found that the lead plaintiff’s claims were typical and all plaintiffs had the same claim.

Truelive challeneged the adequacy element, the opinion said, by questioning the lead plaintiff’s conflicting statements and active participation in the litigation. They also alleged that he had created a conflict of interest by settling indivdually with the company that issued the background check. The court rejected all of these claims; as to the conflict question, the court reminded the defendants that the lead plaintiff’s claims against the background check operator were never a class action.

The court approved the class definition with one exception – the new class contains applicants who had adverse action taken against them due to the background checks within the last two years, instead of the last five years.

The class is represented by Wenzel Fenton Cabassa and Morgan & Morgan. The defendant, Truelive, is represented by Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson.