University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Long v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority EE-PA-0251
Docket / Court 2:16-cv-01991-PBT ( E.D. Pa. )
Additional Docket(s) 17−01889  [ 17- ]
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Outten & Golden
Public Interest Law Center (PILCOP)
Case Summary
On April 27, 2016, an applicant for a bus driving position with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) filed this class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff, joined one month later by two other named plaintiffs, sued SEPTA under the federal ... read more >
On April 27, 2016, an applicant for a bus driving position with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) filed this class action lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff, joined one month later by two other named plaintiffs, sued SEPTA under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and under Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA). The plaintiffs were represented by private counsel and Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Public Interest Law Center. They sought injunctive relief enjoining SEPTA from unlawful activity in violation of FCRA and CHRIA, declaratory relief, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed SEPTA violated the FCRA by failing to provide clear and conspicuous disclosure of its use of consumer reports for background checks as part of the hiring process. They further claimed SEPTA violated CHRIA by denying the plaintiffs employment based upon unrelated criminal convictions.

The plaintiffs sought class certification for the following two classes:

- FCRA Disclosure Class: “All applicants for employment with SEPTA in the United States, within two years of the filing of this Complaint through the date of final judgment, about whom SEPTA procured a consumer report without providing a clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing, in a document that consisted solely of the disclosure, before procuring the consumer report, as required by 15 U.S.C. §1681b(b)(2)(A)(i).”
- CHRIA Job Denial Class: “All applicants for employment with SEPTA in the United State within two years of the filing of this Complaint through the date of final judgment who were denied SEPTA employment involving the operation and/or maintenance of SEPTA non-paratransit vehicles based in whole or in part on a drug-related conviction dating back more than seven (7) years from the decision on their application to SEPTA.”

However, the case was dismissed before either class could be certified.

On June 24, 2016, SEPTA filed a motion to dismiss, alleging lack of standing and failure to state a claim. SEPTA claimed the plaintiffs lacked standing with respect to the FCRA claims because the plaintiffs lacked concrete and particularized injury stemming from the alleged FCRA violations, failed to establish a link between the revocation of their offers of employment and the alleged FCRA violations, and didn’t allege that the consumer reports were at all inaccurate.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker granted SEPTA’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing on April 5, 2017. She found that the plaintiffs were able to allege a particularized harm, but not a concrete one as is required to establish standing under the FCRA per Spokeo. Having granted SEPTA’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing, Judge Tucker did not address the state CHRIA claims, nor SEPTA’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

The plaintiffs appealed Judge Tucker's order on April 18, 2017. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on December 12, 2017. Amici briefs were filed by Community Legal Services, the National Employment Law Project, Service Employees International Union Local 668, and the National Consumer Law Center. As of January 26, 2018, the Third Circuit had not ruled on the appeal.

Alexandra Gilewicz - 01/17/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Hiring
General
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State Anti-Discrimination Law
State law
Defendant(s) Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were three individuals who applied and interviewed for positions with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), and who were denied employment after a background check that revealed drug-related convictions.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Outten & Golden
Public Interest Law Center (PILCOP)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Microsoft Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  SEPTA Conviction Discrimination Lawsuit
SEPTA Conviction Discrimination Lawsuit
Date: Spring 2016
(Outten & Golden)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Age Discrimination Class Action seeks Fair Employment for Older PwC Applicants
http://www.pwcagecase.com/
Date: Apr. 27, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Smith Barney Gender Discrimination
https://www.lieffcabraser.com/employment/smith-barney/
Date: August 2008
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Date: Mar. 1, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Faculty)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
Date: Apr. 1, 2001
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School Faculty)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:16-cv-01991-PBT (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0251-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-PA-0251-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 21]
EE-PA-0251-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/26/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 25]
EE-PA-0251-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 52] (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0251-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Appeal in a Civil Case [ECF# 55]
EE-PA-0251-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Tucker, Petrese B. (E.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0251-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bentley, Cheryl-Lyn (New York)
EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Geffen, Benjamin D. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Hancock, Ryan Allen (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Hardiman, Michael H. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Kelley, Mateya (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Klein, Adam T. (New York)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Lee, Michael (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0005
McNerney, Christopher M. (New York)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Miazad, Ossai (New York)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Newsome, Danielle K. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-9000
Rodriguez, Dariely (District of Columbia)
EE-PA-0251-0005
Steel, Lewis M (New York)
EE-PA-0251-0001 | EE-PA-0251-0002 | EE-PA-0251-0005 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cognetti, Michael A. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Dougherty, Candidus K. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Hope, Andrew (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Malloy, Elizabeth A. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000
McCarron, Jeffrey B. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000
Southall, Samantha L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0251-0004 | EE-PA-0251-9000

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