LexisNexis Sues Over Immigration Data

ATLANTA (CN) – LexisNexis claims that sensitive electronic I-9 immigration data may be compromised if one its vendors, USVerify, carries through on its threats to breach a contract.

     According to LexisNexis’ complaint in Fulton County Superior Court, the two companies entered a contract in June 2006, whereby USVerify would “provide LexisNexis with services permitting an end user to complete an electronic ‘I-9 form’ required by U.S. immigration laws and regulations; provide storage, maintenance and tracking services for completed I-9 forms; conduct automated I-9 form legal ‘right to work’ verifications for employers (through the federal government’s automated system known as ‘E-Verify’); and maintain end user’s historical E-Verify data.”
     The I-9 form is for employment eligibility verification.
     LexisNexis says it resells these services to its customers: employers that buy the services to comply with federal regulations.
     Federal law requires LexisNexis customer- employers to “complete I-9 forms, maintain in a readily accessible manner those forms (including electronic I-9 forms) and E-Verify Data, as well as audit trails, showing, among other things, any changes to the electronic forms and to produce them within three days after the request of the federal government, in particular, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the Department of Homeland Security,” according to the complaint.
     LexisNexis says its reseller agreement with USVerify was for 5 years and was scheduled to expire on June 27. Upon termination, USVerify was to return all of the I-9 data to LexisNexis and not use or disclose the data.
     In April, LexisNexis notified USVerify that it would not renew the reseller agreement and would request return of its information, according to the complaint. In May, LexisNexis formally demanded the return of its information.
     But it says USVerify refused to return the information unless LexisNexis coughed up “enormous payments” for the data.
     The complaint states: “USVerify’s failure to return I-9 information to LexisNexis under the terms provided for by the reseller agreement risks wholesale and systematic violations of federal law and risks thwarting the U.S. federal government’s immigration enforcement scheme and LexisNexis’ customers’ ability to comply with that scheme. Further, violations of these federal regulations risk the imposition of substantial fines and penalties.”
     What’s more, in June, USVerify “informed LexisNexis that it intended to contact LexisNexis’ customers and inform them of the need to make arrangements for ‘replacement services’ after the expiration of the agreement,” the complaint states.
     LexisNexis claims that shortly after it notified USVerify that it would not renew the reseller agreement, USVerify tried to sell the I-9 product directly to a LexisNexis’ customer, in violation of the reseller agreement.
     LexisNexis wants USVerify ordered to cease and desist from using or disclosing any information obtained from LexisNexis customers, to return the information to LexisNexis, and to maintain and provide the government with any necessary I-9 information in the event of a governmental audit of LexisNexis’ customers during the transition period, if USVerify has not transferred all of the information back to LexisNexis and its customers.
     LexisNexis is represented by Jill A. Pryor and Kamal Ghali with Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore.

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