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May 19 2014

Two Court Decisions Say FCRA Disclosures Cannot Contain Liability Waivers

"On December 2, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that a combined disclosure and authorization form that contained a liability waiver which the employer gave to a group of former job applicants violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the ""FCRA."")

The court determined that a significant portion of the 1,800 individuals in this class action are entitled to willful damages under the FCRA and could each receive the greater of his|her actual damages or $1,000 plus attorneys' fees. This is a second published decision to hold that liability waivers invalidate the disclosure requirements under the FCRA.

The first ruling rendered in January 2012 in the U.S. District Court in Maryland found that "both the statutory text and FTC advisory opinions indicate that an employer violates the FCRA by including a liability release in a disclosure document." Thus far, only the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina disagreed, deciding in August 2012 that the liability waiver included in the defendant employer's combined disclosure and authorization form was kept sufficiently distinct from the disclosure language so as not to render it ineffective."