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Compliance News Flash – October 22, 2018

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP is pleased to provide you with the Compliance News Flash. This weekly update is your source for timely background screening and immigration-related news that is important to your organization.

  1. Consumer complaints relating to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the month of August increased by 13.6% from July and by 13.2% from the previous year. Consumer complaints for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act have also increased by 24.1% and 13.5%, respectively. Point being, FCRA-related litigation continues to go strong. Read more here.

  2. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it settled charges with Texas-based tenant screening company RealPage, Inc. (“RealPage”) for allegedly failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of the information that it provided to landlords, in violation of the FCRA. RealPage will pay $3 million to the FTC, the largest civil penalty that the FTC has ever obtained against a background screening company (the last settlement was for $2.6 million in 2012). The failure relates to its matching criteria. RealPage allegedly failed to require exact matches when verifying the identity of individuals for tenant screening reports. RealPage allegedly only used exact matches for individuals’ last name, and similar matches for their first names. According to the FTC, this resulted in multiple inaccurate tenant screening reports and multiple potential renters being denied housing. Read the FTC announcement and settlement 

  3. On October 18th, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra announced that the agency will review if a company is in compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield during its privacy and data security investigations. Chopra said that the FTC would consider if companies are giving European Union (EU) citizens’ data protection equivalent to the EU General Data Protection Regulation. According to Chopra, the U.S. needs to prove to the EU that data protection standards are taken seriously. The FTC would need to work with the U.S. Department of Commerce to enforce the Privacy Shield framework, or requirements, and revoke a company’s Privacy Shield certification if it is not in compliance. Read the full story from Bloomberg here, subscription required. 

  4. Still on the topic of Privacy Shield, officials from both the EU and Switzerland are meeting with U.S. officials this month to review their respective Privacy Shield programs. One topic that may come up during the discussions are the U.S. Department of Commerce’s procedures for certifying and supervising companies under the program. Last week, U.S. officials met with their EU counterparts and it appears the talks went well. Which is positive for continued use of the Privacy Shield program for cross-border transfers of personal data. A report on the second annual review of Privacy Shield is expected next month. Click here and here to read more.

  5. Interesting FCRA case related to States and sovereign immunity. Long story short, a plaintiff cannot sue a State for alleged violations of the FCRA due to sovereign immunity. In Pendergrass v. Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, 2018 WL 4938578 (D. D.C. Oct. 11, 2018) the plaintiff tried to sue the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA), alleging FCRA related violations after he was not hired due to a prior conviction on a non-violent offense. The Court ruled that because WMATA was created pursued to a Congressionally-authorized Interstate Compact among D.C., Virginia and Maryland, it (i) retained sovereign immunity; (ii) that WMATA did not waive its sovereign immunity; and (iii) Congress has not abrogated the States’ immunity to claims under the FCRA. Bottom line—States are immune from FCRA claims.


If you have any questions or need assistance on any point raised in this Compliance News Flash please contact:

Montserrat Miller  

Montserrat C. Miller
Partner, DC Office



The information presented provides a general summary and/or recent legal and regulatory developments. It is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
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