United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Maxine Fields, on behalf of herself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
Beverly Health and Rehabilitation Services, Inc.; Beverly Enterprises-Minnesota LLC d/b/a Golden LivingCenter-Hopkins and Hopkins Care Center; Golden Gate National Senior Care LLC d/b/a Golden Living; and GGNSC Administrative Services, LLC, Defendants.
C. Navarro, Esq., Joni M. Thome, Esq., and Shawn J. Wanta,
Esq., Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP, counsel for
Charles M. Roesch, Esq., and Susan H. Jackson, Esq., Dinsmore
& Shohl LLP; and Katie M. Connolly, Esq., Nilan Johnson
Lewis PA, counsel for Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK United States District Judge
Maxine Fields (“Fields” or
“Plaintiff”) has brought a claim under the Fair
Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) against her
former employer and its related entities. Fields alleges that
Defendants failed to provide her the necessary disclosures in
the proper form before procuring her consumer report. Fields
does not allege that she suffered any actual damages. Instead
she seeks statutory damages for an allegedly willful
violation of the FCRA. (Doc. No. 31, Second Am. Compl.
(“SAC”) ¶¶ 42-43.) Defendants have
moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and
for failure to state a claim. For the reasons stated below,
the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction and therefore does not reach
Defendants' other motion.
operate a number of nursing/assisted living centers.
(Id. at ¶ 8.) In 2014, Fields received a
conditional offer to work full time with Defendant Golden
LivingCenter-Hopkins in Hopkins, Minnesota. (Id. at
¶ 4.) Fields then met with Defendants'
human-resources representative to complete a set of forms,
including a Background Check Authorization Form.
(Id. at ¶ 18, & Ex. A (“Authorization
Authorization Form required Fields to provide her name,
social security number, date of birth, current address, and
any previous addresses for the last five years.
(Authorization Form.) Under the date-of-birth field,
the Authorization Form provided that the birthdate was to be
“[u]sed solely for ensuring completion of a criminal
record check” and that employers are prohibited from
discriminating based on age for individuals age 40 or older.
(Id.) In addition, Fields had to check
“yes” or “no” boxes regarding
whether: (1) she had ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or
felony; (2) she was awaiting prosecution on a misdemeanor or
felony; or (3) she had ever pled no contest to a misdemeanor
or felony. (Id.) Fields checked “no” for
each box, but if she had checked “yes, ” then she
was asked to give additional details. (Id.)
the Authorization Form required Fields to affirm to the
I understand that as part of your procedure for processing my
application, an investigative report about my background may
be made which may include information obtained through
personal interviews regarding my character, general
reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living. I
have the right to make a written request, within a reasonable
period of time, for complete disclosure of additional
information concerning the nature and scope of the
investigation. I authorize investigation of all statements
contained in this authorization form. ALL representations by
me in this data sheet are to the best of my knowledge and
belief true and correct, and I have not knowingly omitted any
related information of an adverse nature. Inaccurate
information may make me ineligible for employment. I also
understand that having a criminal conviction is not an
automatic bar for employment. In the absence of a written
contract, employment with the Company is employment at the
will of each party. The employment relationship may be
terminated at any time at the discretion of the employee or
(Id.) Fields signed the Authorization Form. (SAC
¶ 18.) After signing the form, Defendant GGNSC
Administrative Services, LLC procured a criminal background
check on behalf of Golden LivingCenter-Hopkins. (See
Id. at ¶¶ 6, 31.) The background check showed
that Fields had no criminal history. (Doc. No. 36 (Fenner
Aff.”) ¶ 6.) Fields then worked at Golden
LivingCenter-Hopkins for fourteen months, until June 5, 2015.
( Id. at ¶ 7.)
FCRA requires that if a person intends to run a consumer
report (including a criminal background check) for employment
purposes, that person must: (1) provide a clear and
conspicuous document containing solely the disclosure that a
consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and
(2) obtain written authorization for the procurement of the
report by that person. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681a(d)(1)
& 1681b(b)(2)(A). Under the FCRA, a plaintiff can recover
statutory damages even if she has suffered no actual damages
for willful violations of the FCRA. Id. §
March 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed her first Complaint alleging a
violation of the FCRA. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff amended her
Complaint twice. (Doc. Nos. 25, 31.) In her Second Amended
Complaint, Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of plaintiffs
for whom Defendants obtained a consumer report in the five
years leading up to the filing of the Complaint. (SAC ¶
34.) At the heart of her complaint, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants willfully violated the FCRA by failing to provide
a stand-alone disclosure that clearly and conspicuously
stated which type of report was going to be procured and by
whom. (Id. at ¶¶ 20, 28.) As a result of
this inadequate disclosure, Plaintiff alleges, Defendants
failed to obtain the requisite authorization before procuring
Plaintiff's criminal background history. (Id. at
¶ 33.) On December 21, 2016, Defendants moved to
dismiss, arguing that the Court did not have subject matter
jurisdiction and that Plaintiff had failed to allege a
willful violation of the FCRA. (Doc. No. 36.)
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the
Court's subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1). To survive a motion under Rule 12(b)(1), the party
asserting jurisdiction has the burden of proving
jurisdiction. V S Ltd. P'ship v. Dep't of Hous.
& Urban Dev., 235 F.3d 1109, 1112 (8th Cir. 2000).
“Subject-matter jurisdiction is a threshold requirement
which must be ...