Syed v. M-I, LLC, 846 F.3d 1034 (9th Cir. 2017)

When Sarmad Syed applied for a job with M-I, he was given a “Pre-employment Disclosure Release,” which informed him that his credit history and other information could be collected and used as a basis for the employment decision; the document also stated that by signing it, Syed was waiving his right to sue M-I and its agents for any violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). In his putative class action lawsuit against M-I, Syed alleged that M-I’s inclusion of the liability waiver in the FCRA disclosure document violated the statute, which requires that the disclosure document consist “solely” of the disclosure. The district court dismissed the lawsuit, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that M-I violated the FCRA by including a liability waiver in the same document as its disclosure, which must consist “solely of the disclosure.”  The Court further held that M-I’s statutory violation was willful as a matter of law and was not barred by the two-year statute of limitations (Syed was unaware that M-I had actually procured his consumer report until he reviewed his personnel file).