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Case Name Millien v Madison Square Garden Co. EE-NY-0299
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-04000-AJN-SLC ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
This is a class action suit regarding the legality of withholding an individual's background check report during adverse employment application decisions. On April 26, 2017, an individual who sought and was denied employment at The Madison Square Garden Company and MSGN Holdings, L.P. (MSG) filed ... read more >
This is a class action suit regarding the legality of withholding an individual's background check report during adverse employment application decisions. On April 26, 2017, an individual who sought and was denied employment at The Madison Square Garden Company and MSGN Holdings, L.P. (MSG) filed this lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court. The plaintiff sued MSG for violations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the New York State Fair Credit Reporting Act (NY FCRA). Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as compensation for damages and reasonable attorneys' fees. On May 26, 2017, MSG removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case was assigned to Judge Alison J. Nathan and Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. The case was later reassigned to Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman and then to Judge Sarah L. Cave.

The plaintiff alleged that MSG failed to provide job applicants with copies of their background check reports and other required notices before making adverse employment decisions as required by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act (NY FCRA). FCRA requires that employers using consumer reports to make adverse employment decisions must provide a copy of the report to the individual along with notification of its intent to take adverse action and a summary of the individuals’ rights under FCRA. NY FCRA requires that an entity must provide a copy of the background check if it contains criminal conviction information.

On July 14, 2017, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, adding a claim that MSG’s refusal to hire individuals with past convictions violated the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and had a disparate impact on Black and Latino applicants.

After various procedural delays and adjournments, MSG filed a motion to stay the proceedings, which the court granted on August 15, 2018. On June 24, 2019, the plaintiff moved for preliminary approval of a class action settlement, conditional certification of settlement classes, and approval of plaintiff’s proposed notice of settlement, which the court granted on August 8, 2019. 2019 WL 3759501. On November 4, 2019, plaintiffs moved for certification of the settlement classes, final approval of class action settlement, approval of service awards, and attorneys' fees and expenses.

After a final hearing on November 19, 2019, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion to certify a class and approve the settlement on August 7, 2020. Two classes were certified. The FCRA Class was defined as “individuals who were denied employment with MSG based on the content of his or her Background Check Report from April 26, 2015 through the date of Preliminary Approval of the Settlement,” and the NYC class was defined as “individuals who applied for employment with MSG in New York City, New York and who were denied employment based on MSG’s determination that they failed to fully or accurately disclose their criminal conviction history from May 8, 2014 through the date of Preliminary Approval of the Settlement” under Rule 23(a) and Rule 23(b)(3). 2020 WL 4572678.

Under the settlement, class members were awarded over $500,000 in damages in exchange for releasing MSG from all discrimination claims, and the court awarded $750,000 in reasonable attorneys' fees. Furthermore, MSG also agreed to change its policy regarding hiring and employment of those with criminal records. MSG would contract with a Consumer Reporting Agency to provide pre-adverse action letters to applicants denied employment based on their background checks. MSG would also only require that applicants disclose criminal conviction history for the five years preceding an application and would no longer require that applicants disclose convictions for possession of marijuana, except for convictions with intent to sell marijuana. If applicants did not fully or accurately disclose their criminal conviction histories, MSG would request an explanation for the lack of disclosure prior to making any adverse employment decisions.

The court entered the judgment on August 10. The settlement agreement is set to expire two years after the date of judgment or MSG's full compliance with the settlement's policy changes, whichever is later.

Zofia Peach - 10/25/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Required disclosure
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Records Disclosure
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) MSGN Holdings, L.P.
The Madison Square Garden Company
Plaintiff Description FCRA class of individuals who were denied employment with MSG based on the content of his/her Background Check Report from April 26, 2015 through the date of Preliminary Approval of the Settlement and NYC class of individuals who applied for employment with MSG in New York City, New York and who were denied employment based on MSG’s determination that they failed to fully or accurately disclose their criminal conviction history from May 8, 2014 through date of Preliminary Approval of Settlement
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2020 - 2022
Filed 04/26/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
State Supreme Court
05/26/2017
652225/2017
EE-NY-0299-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: Supreme Court website
S.D.N.Y.
08/10/2020
1:17-cv-04000-AJN-SLC
EE-NY-0299-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
State Trial Court
04/26/2017
Summons; Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-NY-0299-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: State Court Website
S.D.N.Y.
07/14/2017
First Amended Federal Class Action Complaint [ECF# 13]
EE-NY-0299-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
06/24/2019
Stipulation and Settlement Agreement [ECF# 96-1]
EE-NY-0299-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
08/08/2019
Opinion [ECF# 98] (2019 WL 3759501)
EE-NY-0299-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
S.D.N.Y.
08/07/2020
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 118] (2020 WL 4572678)
EE-NY-0299-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Cave, Sarah L. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
Nathan, Alison Julie (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0003 | EE-NY-0299-0005 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bentley, Cheryl-Lyn (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
Eingold, Eric Vinson (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Lopez, P. David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Martinez, Nina Teresa (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
McNerney, Christopher M. (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Miazad, Ossai (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Pope, Michael Clayton (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Schrum−Herrera, Cristina (California) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
Steel, Lewis M (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Stromberg, Daniel (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
Young, Chauniqua Danielle (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0001 | EE-NY-0299-0002 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Engelman, Keri Lynne (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-9000
Evans, Paul C (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000
Shaulson, Sam Scott (New York) show/hide docs
EE-NY-0299-0004 | EE-NY-0299-9000

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