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Background Check Firm’s Slipup Could Cost It

(CN) - A company that provides background checks must face claims from a man whom it allegedly incorrectly described as a sex offender, costing him work, a federal judge ruled.

Harold Charles Meyer claims that National Tenant Network sent an inaccurate consumer report to Meyer's prospective employer and landlord, Shorewood RV Park, claiming he had "three criminal sex offense record, which were listed as 'violent sex offender, fail to register,' 'sexual battery' and 'aggravated oral sexual battery.'"

Both Harold and Phyllis Meyer, who had applied with him for the assistant resident manager position, were then denied employment and residence at Shorewood.

The couple contacted the National Tenant Network for copies of Harold's file but the defendant allegedly never responded to their requests.

They blamed the inaccurate sex-offender designation on National Tenant Network having mistakenly relied on a consumer report for Charles Otis Meyer and several other individuals with similar names.

The Meyers filed suit in San Francisco, hoping to represent a class, but National Tenant moved to dismiss their three claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley largely favored the plaintiffs last week.

One surviving count alleges that National Tenant improperly bars those whom it provides with consumer reports, like Shorewood, from disclosing the contents of those reports to the subjects, like the Meyers.

Another surviving count alleges that National Tenant willfully fails to provide the subjects of consumer reports with all the information in their files.

For these causes of action, Corley also refused to dismiss the class-action element.

She did find problems, however, the claim alleging that National Tenant "negligently and willfully failing to provide Mr. Meyer with notice at the time that it was selling adverse public records about him, and the source of such information and by failing to maintain strict procedures to insure that adverse public records information it reports is complete and up to date."

Here the Meyers failed to allege that "NTN either knew or should have known that the report it furnished to Shorewood was for employment purposes," according to the ruling.

"Plaintiffs assert that they adequately allege that the report defendant sold to Shorewood was for employment purposes, citing Paragraphs 11 and 26 through 30," Corley wrote. "However, those paragraphs include no allegations regarding defendant's knowledge that the report would be used to evaluate plaintiffs' employment application in addition to their tenancy application; rather, those paragraphs simply allege that Shorewood used plaintiffs' reports for employment purposes."

Meyer has until Feb. 6 to amend that claim.

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