The FCRA comes to Georgia state courts, sort of …

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Jun 10, 2015

In less than a month, you can add Georgia to the list of states where claims against background screening companies can be asserted in state court.

In this year’s legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill adopting, almost verbatim, the language of Section 613 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Bill was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on May 5 and becomes effective on July 1.

The new law, which will be codified at O.C.G.A. Section 10-1-393.14 and will become part of Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act, requires consumer reporting agencies that furnish consumer reports containing adverse public record information for employment purposes to either (1) notify job applicants that such public record information is being reported or (2) maintain “strict procedures” to ensure that such public record information is “complete and up-to-date.”

Plaintiffs who are willing to forgo their claims under federal law and proceed exclusively under the new Georgia statute will have a much better chance of keeping their case in state court, which seems to be the preferred venue for members of the plaintiff’s bar. However, don’t expect to see a boom in FCRA–Lite litigation in the Georgia state courts anytime soon. The burdensome procedures and limited recoveries available to individual litigants under Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act are sure to discourage all but the most ardent state court litigators.

- Craig E. Bertschi, Partner — McRae Bertschi LLC