Connor v. First Student, Inc., 2018 WL 3966434 (Cal. S. Ct. 2018)

Eileen Connor worked as a school bus driver for Laidlaw Education Services, a company that was later acquired by First Student.  First Student retained a consumer reporting agency to conduct background checks on its employees.  The background reports elicited information about the employees, including their criminal records, sex offender registry status, address history, driving records and employment history.  Connor asserts in this class action lawsuit that First Student violated the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (“ICRAA”) (Civ. Code § 1786, et seq.) because it failed to provide the appropriate statutory notice and did not obtain her written authorization to conduct the background check.  First Student asserted that ICRAA is unconstitutionally vague because the statute overlaps with the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (“CCRAA”) (Civ. Code § 1785.1, et seq.) (relating exclusively to credit checks).  The California Supreme Court held that any partial overlap between the two statutes does not render one superfluous or unconstitutionally vague.  Therefore, because First Student conducted a background check that reported on Connor’s “character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living,” it was an investigative consumer report subject to the stricter notice and authorization requirements of ICRAA.  See also Dutta v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 895 F.3d 1166 (9th Cir. 2018) (procedural violation of FCRA that did not result in harm or a material risk of harm is not actionable).