Moran v. The Screening Pros (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
Deepak Gupta is lead appellate counsel in this case, along with Peter Conti-Brown of Gupta Wessler, Meredith Desautels of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Joshua Kim of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and attorneys Craig Davis and and Devin Fok.
At issue on appeal is the constitutionality of California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, one of the nation’s strongest protections against abuses by background-screening companies. The district court held that the Act is unconstitutionally vague because it overlaps with another state fair-credit-reporting law and the court couldn’t figure out which one applied. But, as the Eleventh Circuit has explained in a case that also happened to arise in the fair-credit-reporting context (Harris v. Mexican Specialty Foods), it is well established that there is no vagueness where a statute “clearly defines what conduct is prohibited and the potential range of fine that accompanies noncompliance.”
The case also presents a question of federal statutory interpretation: How long, under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, can a consumer-reporting agency report negative criminal-history information? The FCRA prohibits the reporting of adverse information for more than seven years. As the CFPB’s and FTC’s brief argues, for a dismissed criminal charge the seven-year period begins on the date of the charge, not the date of the dismissal. The district court’s conclusion to the contrary relied on an out-of-date FTC commentary that preceded relevant amendments to the statute.
Amicus Brief of the East Bay Community Law Center (on behalf of the East Bay Community Law Center, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Bay Area Legal Aid, The California Reinvestment Coalition, The Center for Employment Opportunities, Drug Policy Alliance, Ella Baker Center, the University of California Hastings Civil Justice Clinic, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Legal Action Center, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, The National Consumer Law Center, The National Employment Law Project, The National Housing Law Project, Public Good, Rubicon Programs, and the Safer Foundation)