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Magallon v. Robert Half International, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Eugene Division

May 1, 2018

BONNIE MAGALLON, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ROBERT HALF INTERNATIONAL, INC., a foreign corporation, Defendant,


          Ann Aiken United States District Judge

         This is certified class action in which class representative Bonnie Magallon ("plaintiff), on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, moves to compel discovery for the purposes of compiling a complete and accurate class membership list. Defendant Robert Half International, Inc. ("RHI" or "defendant") opposes plaintiffs motion to compel. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs motion is granted.


         In this certified class action, plaintiff, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, asserts that defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). Defendant operates a professional staffing service that matches individuals seeking employment with employers. Defendant matches each qualified applicant with a potential employer seeking someone with the applicant's qualifications to fill a short-term or long-term position. Defendant requires a background check of applicants once they have matched and interviewed with an employer.

         In 2011, Plaintiff applied for a job with RHI. After she matched and interviewed with a potential employer, RHI ordered a background report from General Information Services, Inc. ("GIS"). RHI deemed her "not placeable" based on information (criminal history) in that background report. RHI did not give plaintiff a copy of her background report until after it made the "not placeable" decision and after she requested a copy of the report. Plaintiff alleges that defendant violated 15 U.S.C. § l68lb(b)(3) when it rejected her application for employment because of her criminal history without giving her notice that it was using a background report to make an adverse employment decision, providing her a copy of the report, or offering her a meaningful opportunity to dispute the information in the report. Plaintiff seeks statutory damages for willful violations of the FCRA.

         This case was filed on August 22, 2013 and the parties engaged in extensive class certification discovery for two years. On July 20, 2015, the parties filed simultaneous motions regarding class certification. In an order dated November 10, 2015, I certified the following class:

All natural persons residing in the United States (including territories and other political subdivisions) who: (i) applied for temporary employment placement through RHI; (ii) about whom RHI obtained a consumer report for employment purposes from the General Information Services, Inc., from August 22, 2008, until the present;[1] (iii) the consumer report contained either a "red flag" or a "yellow flag"; and (iv) RHI determined the applicant was "not placeable." The class does not include any person who applied for placement through RHI in June 2012 or later, signed the arbitration agreement acknowledgment form, and did not opt out of the arbitration agreement within 30 days.

Magatton v. Robert Half Int'l, Inc., 311 F.R.D. 625, 641-42 (D. Or. 2015). After the class was certified, plaintiff began her attempts to compile a class list. I granted requests to extend discovery several times: once at plaintiffs (unopposed) request, and twice in response to a joint request. That initial phase of class list discovery lasted ten months.

         On September 15, 2016, plaintiff filed her first motion to compel class list discovery. Defendant produced a spreadsheet of 4, 600 individuals in response. A majority of those individuals listed class member status as "To Be Determined." The 4, 600 number stood in stark contrast to the 60, 000 individuals for whom defendant had previously reported obtaining red- or yellow-flag background check reports from GIS in the relevant time period, Following a telephonic conference on November 16, 2016, 1 granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part:

It is defendant's responsibility to identify class members and produce a complete and accurate class list. The Court acknowledges defendant's statements regarding logistical difficulties identifying class members. In view of those difficulties, defendant is ordered to produce the class list by May 15, 2017. If defendant does not produce the class list within that time period, the Court will order defendant to produce the information and records described on page 8 of Plaintiff s Motion to Compel Class List Discovery so that plaintiff can independently compile the class list. Defendant's request that plaintiff be ordered to pay part of the costs of production is denied.

Magallon v. Robert Half Int'l, Inc., No. 6:13-cv-01478 (D. Or. Nov. 16, 2016) (order granting in part and denying in part Motion to Compel) (doc. 62). The second phase of class list discovery lasted thirteen months, during which time I granted three more joint requests to extend discovery deadlines. On June 17, 2017, defendant produced an amended class list of 1, 382 individuals. On November 3, 2017, plaintiff deposed Michael Hoffman, defendant's employee responsible for compiling the class list.

         Plaintiff filed the instant second motion to compel class list discovery on December 20, 2017. Plaintiff argues that, at this point, she is entitled to direct access to defendant's files in order to compile an accurate class list because defendant has not made diligent efforts to apply the objective criteria provided in the class definition in compiling the class list. Plaintiff contends that defendant's process likely has omitted thousands of class members from the class list. Plaintiff now seeks access to defendant's files in order to independently come up with a class list.

         Plaintiff wants me to order defendant to produce a list of individuals who (1) were the subject of GIS background reports ordered in during the relevant time period, (2) had red or yellow flag notations on their GIS background reports, and (3) were not placed with an employer within thirty days of the date of their ...

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