Legal Newsline

Monday, January 27, 2020

Serial plaintiff's days might be numbered

By Jenna Spinelle | Sep 1, 2016

Law money 09

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Legal Newsline) — Cory Groshek has applied for hundreds of jobs and, though he has barely worked a day at any of them, he’s still managed to receive plenty of payments from those companies.

However, his days of this practice may be numbered, thanks to a recent U.S. District Court ruling. 

Groshek has used the fine print in the Fair Credit Reporting Act to threaten legal action against 50 companies that he alleged violated part of the act that requires disclosure and authorization as part of a background check or investigation. He has collected more than $230,000 settlements in the process.

While Groshek’s actions may be an extreme example, Montserrat Miller, a data protection attorney at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, said such suits are far from unprecedented.

“You see a lot of litigation where there may not necessarily be any harm to the plaintiff, but because a company didn’t do something under the law, they will file the claim,” Miller told Legal Newsline.

Groshek’s most notable claim was filed against Time Warner Cable, where Groshek was hired for and promptly resigned from a position in January 2015. Afterwards, he emailed the company requesting individual damages and threatening a class action lawsuit.

That claim was dismissed earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper, who wrote that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins earlier this year showed that harm incurred by a Fair Credit Reporting Act violation must be concrete — something Groshek could not prove.

“Because the plaintiff has not alleged a concrete harm resulting from the defendant’s alleged violation of the FCRA, the plaintiff does not have standing, and the court must dismiss the case,” Pepper wrote in the ruling.

Miller said the attention Groshek’s case has received will likely cause businesses to look more closely at hiring practices as they relate to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

“They need to make sure they have their I’s dotted and their T’s crossed,” Miller said. “If they’re not already there, they are certainly trying to come into compliance.”

Pepper’s ruling could also limit the ability of Groshek or other plaintiffs to continue making these claims in the future.

“What someone may try to do is file a sanction against him [Groshek],” Miller said. “The judge said ‘I’m not going to seal the record even though you’ve requested because I think that it’s relevant.’ He may find that courts are not as favorable to his claims.”

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Organizations in this Story

Time Warner CableU.S. Supreme Court