Fair Credit Reporting Act

Chairs: 
Robert Sola
Robert Sola
Sylvia Goldsmith
Sylvia Goldsmith

New to the FCRA? New to background screening and landlord-tenant cases? Beginners are encouraged to attend the FCRA Fundamentals workshop the morning of April 30 to get the most out of the Spring Training. Learn more about the pre-training workshops on our website.

Why You Should Attend: 

It seems as though every day brings news of a new data breach. Despite this trend, more and more companies are involved in the lucrative trading of consumer data to entities who want to make decisions based on information available in consumers’ consumer reports. Incorrect information on a consumer report can be devastating, leading to loss of credit, employment opportunities, and housing opportunities. It’s more important now than ever to understand how to litigate cases using the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and achieve justice for your clients.

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced practitioner, this year’s FCRA track will help you start or grow your practice. Beginners will gain foundational knowledge of how to handle standard FCRA cases against Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs) at the FCRA Fundamentals workshop. Intermediate and advanced practitioners will gain the tools and strategies to grow their clientele and handle non-traditional cases, including employment and landlord tenant screening cases.

“The FCRA is not that complicated and the time you spend learning it will return great rewards for your clients and your practice." – Mike Cardoza

What You Will Learn: 
  • How to litigate background screening and tenant screening FCRA cases
  • How to set up a case to maximize case value

Agenda:

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Gain knowledge of the key players in FCRA cases involving background screening and how to spot FCRA cases associated with background screening violations

Speakers

John Albanese is an associate in Berger & Montague’s Minneapolis office. John concentrates his practice on consumer protection issues with a focus on FCRA violations related to criminal background checks. John has helped achieve multi-million-dollar class action settlements for FCRA violations in courts around the country.

Alexis Lehmann is an attorney at Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C., who represents individual consumers’ rights under the FCRA and the FDCPA, in addition to various other consumer protection laws. Alexis is also an active member on the Executive Board for the Justice Rising Advocates; a local committee which partners with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia to help low-income Philadelphians with various legal issues. Prior to joining the firm, Alexis worked as a civil litigator for local and state law enforcement officers handling cases under Title VII, The Americans With Disabilities Act, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the First Amendment Free Speech and Petition clause.

Adam Thoresen is a senior staff attorney with the public interest law firm, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. He has worked at JALA for over ten years, and his practice is currently focused on Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation related to landlord-tenant debts and other inaccuracies in tenant screening reports. Adam has litigated cases with all of the Big Three Consumer Reporting Agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), as well as specialty debt collectors whose focus is the collection of residential landlord-tenant debts. Adam handles cases on an individual and class basis under the FCRA, FDCPA, FCCPA, and other consumer protection statutes.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Learn how to set up an FCRA case for litigation

Speakers

Ian Leavengood

A.J. Stecklein began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office. In the last few years, his practice, Stecklein and Rapp, has turned to helping consumers who fall victim to dishonest businesses, including matters of creditor and debt collector harassment.

Subhan Tariq regularly handles complex commercial litigation, with particular experience in consumer finance litigation in individual and class action cases in the areas of federal and state consumer protection laws. Mr. Tariq has successfully helped thousands of consumers exercise their consumer rights against large institutional banks, debt collectors, and consumer reporting agencies. Subhan also consults with other lawyers and law firms on blockchain automation, working towards a streamlined efficient network of client files, document automation, and cost-effective workflows.

Friday, May 8, 2020 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

Gain insights into lessons learned from recent FCRA trials

Speakers

Guerino Cento is an Indiana-based attorney with a national practice who has been practicing credit reporting law since 2000. From 2000 to 2007, Cento represented both TransUnion (as an attorney at Katz & Korin and then Schuckit and Associates) and Equifax (as an attorney at Kilpatrick Stockton and King & Spalding) and defended those CRAs against FCRA claims brought by consumers. Cento now brings FCRA claims on behalf of consumers. Cento has litigated hundreds of FCRA cases throughout the country, and his experience includes trial and appeal.

Matt Osborne practices in Northglenn, CO. His practice focuses on FCRA, auto fraud, and bad faith insurance. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he served five years in the Navy. Matt went to law school at Michigan State. He is married with two kids. His main hobby is suing big corporations.

Susan Stocks is the Assistant Deputy Enforcement Director for Policy and Strategy at the CFPB. She advises on priorities for the Office of Enforcement and uses her strong relationships with state and federal law enforcement partners, consumer advocacy groups, and industry stakeholders to identify emerging business trends and their potential risks to consumers. Susan has also focused for several years on the enforcement of consumer reporting laws and regulations. Previously, Susan was Associate General Counsel at Freddie Mac and provided advice on fair lending, loss mitigation issues, and privacy and data security. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Susan worked in the Consumer Protection Bureau at the Federal Trade Commission and at a large litigation law firm. Before practicing law, Susan was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, where she taught English and provided teacher training in villages.  

Monday, May 11, 2020 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

Learn how defense counsel will approach your FCRA case

Speakers

Leonard Bennett

Craig Bertschi spent the first twenty-five years of his legal career as a defense lawyer with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, representing Equifax and numerous background screeners in single plaintiff and class action lawsuits under the FCRA. He also served on the National Association of Professional Background Screeners’ (NAPBS) Education Committee and was the developer of NAPBS’ Basic and Advanced FCRA Certification Programs. In March 2015, Mr. Bertschi formed a partnership with another Kilpatrick alum, Mara McRae. Mr. Bertschi now proudly represents consumers in class action and single plaintiff litigation under the FCRA.

Jeff Sand spent the first six years of his career as a defense lawyer at two of the country's premier defense firms, where he defended Fortune 500 companies in class action and single plaintiff lawsuits. In 2014, Jeff left his defense practice to represent employees and consumers, rather than large corporations. Jeff's consumer rights law practice focuses on litigation under the FCRA, including claims for credit reporting errors, employment background reports, tenant screening reports, and identity theft. Jeff's FCRA experience focuses on both class actions as well as single-plaintiff lawsuits. Jeff's employment law experience includes litigating and counseling clients in matters involving claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour disputes. He also represents clients in contract negotiations, including severance agreements, commission disputes, and non-compete and non-solicitation agreements.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

Learn how to spot common challenges and litigate FCRA cases with background screening violations

Speakers

Sharon Dietrich has been an attorney with the Employment Unit of Community Legal Services (CLS), Philadelphia, since 1987. She became CLS’ Managing Attorney for Public Benefits and Employment in 1997 and its Litigation Director in 2014. A focus of Ms. Dietrich’s work has been issues involving the employment of people with criminal records. She has co-counseled with Francis & Mailman on numerous class actions brought under the FCRA against background screeners, including for the inclusion of expunged cases on background checks. Others activities involving criminal records include representing hundreds of people who have been denied employment because of their criminal records; leading CLS’s legislative advocacy on Pennsylvania’s innovative Clean Slate law (Act 56) to seal more than 30 million minor criminal cases through automation; and leading CLS’s work in the National Record Clearing Project to provide technical assistance nationwide for provision of expungement and sealing representation.

James Fishman is a former Assistant AG in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection and a Senior Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Division. In private practice since 1989 specializing in tenant and consumer issues, he has pioneered strategies to address “tenant blacklisting” as well as consumer protection and privacy claims in individual and class action cases and has successfully pursued claims under the FCRA, the FDCPA, and the Deceptive Practices Act against credit bureaus, debt collectors, creditors, landlords, and attorneys in both state and federal court. Mr. Fishman has had a Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rating since 2006, received NACA’s 2002 Consumer Hero of the Year Award, received a 2008 Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School, and has been named a “Top Lawyer in New York” each year since 2012.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Gain insight into strategies to settle your FCRA cases at the appropriate values

Speakers

Sylvia A. Goldsmith (B.A. and J.D., Ohio State University) is the founder of Goldsmith & Associates, LLC, a consumer protection law practice concentrating on identity theft and credit reporting litigation, debt collection abuses, personal and financial privacy rights, and other consumer protection issues. Goldsmith has had numerous favorable decisions in the FCRA arena on cutting-edge issues ranging from the applicability of the FCRA to nontraditional consumer report information, from automated underwriting reports and criminal background checks to the willful violation of the law for the impermissible access to consumer reports post-bankruptcy.

Dave Maxfield runs a boutique consumer protection practice in Columbia, SC. He’s the three-time chairman of the Consumer Law section of the South Carolina Bar and the past president of the Richland County Bar Association. He has represented thousands of individual consumers in cases against banks, credit reporting agencies, and insurance companies. Dave has taught nearly 100 Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs and speaks regularly in the media. Dave became obsessed years ago with how law firms might use Lean methods and technologies pioneered by the manufacturing world to run more profitable practices. The Lean Law Firm is the culmination of years of trial and error with such systems, translating Lean practices into a simple, month-by-month template that law firms can use to become more profitable.

Mark D. Mailman has concentrated his practice in consumer protection litigation since co-founding his firm, Francis & Mailman, P.C. in 1998. Mark has litigated thousands of FCRA and FDCPA cases. He has been certified to serve as class counsel by state and federal courts in both contested and settlement class actions. In October 2018, Mark was awarded the 2018 Consumer Attorney of the Year award from NACA.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

Learn what to do when faced with arbitration clauses in your FCRA cases

Speakers

Kirsten Baxter is an attorney with Baxter & Baxter, LLP, focusing on consumer protection and consumer bankruptcy cases. Her consumer practice concentrates on litigation with an emphasis on credit reporting and unlawful debt collection cases. She has been a member of the Oregon State Bar since 2010 and the Washington State Bar Association since 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and Juris Doctor degree from the Willamette School of Law in Salem, OR.

F. Paul Bland, Jr. is Executive Director of Public Justice, overseeing its advocacy and litigation of consumer, environmental and civil rights cases, and other operations. He has argued and won more than forty reported decisions, including at least one case in the U.S. Supreme Court, six of the federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and ten different state high courts. He has been counsel in cases which have obtained injunctive and/or cash relief of more than $1 billion for consumers. He has received a number of honors, including the Vern Countryman Award from the National Consumer Law Center.

Ronald Wilcox sues creditors and abusive debt collectors for, among other things, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA, and identity theft violations from his office in San Jose, CA. Ron holds degrees from New York University, Harvard University, and Indiana University, and he is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College. Ron has consistently obtained successful outcomes for his clients and for himself in consumer arbitration.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Determine the value of your FCRA cases

Speakers

Micah Adkins’s practice focuses on the representation of consumers who have credit or background report errors under the FCRA. He maintains offices in Dallas, Houston, Birmingham, and Nashville. Micah frequently prosecutes FCRA claims against the Big 3 credit reporting agencies, and he has litigated hundreds of individual FCRA cases. Micah has also served as class counsel in numerous certified FCRA class actions, including the recent public record class actions. Micah offers expert consulting services on FCRA cases for consumer lawyers. He also accepts FCRA referrals across the U.S. and often serves as local counsel for federal consumer cases in Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas.

Penny Hays Cauley (Samford University, J.D.) has been representing consumers for twenty years. In 2006, she opened Hays Cauley, P.C., a law firm dedicated to representing consumers, with a particular focus in fair credit reporting, fair debt collection practices, and TCPA claims. She was lead counsel in Jamon Brim v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., a §1681s-2(b) claim, which resulted in a jury verdict of $100,000 in compensatory damages and $623,180 in punitive damages for violations of the FCRA.

Jared Lee

Robert S. Sola is the founding member of Robert S. Sola, P.C., a consumer law firm based in Portland, OR. He has been handling Fair Credit Reporting Act cases since 1996. He represents consumers across the country and has litigated FCRA cases in twenty-five states as co-counsel with many NACA members. Mr. Sola has obtained large jury verdicts against all three major credit reporting agencies. In 2002, he was lead counsel in Thomas v. Trans Union, where the jury awarded the consumer $5.3 million. In 2007, he was co-counsel in Williams v. Equifax, which resulted in a judgment of $3.4 million. Mr. Sola was named Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2003 by the National Association of Consumer Advocates. He is a regular speaker on credit reporting litigation for the National Consumer Law Center, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, state bar organizations and private groups. In 2018. Mr. Sola was a featured speaker at a credit reporting conference in Lagos, Nigeria.

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Determine whom to sue and what allegation to make in FCRA cases

Speakers

Carla L. Sanchez-Adams is a managing attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA). She assists low-income Texans on issues related to debt collection, credit reporting, auto fraud, debt management, and other consumer-related disputes. Carla received her undergraduate degree in politics and economics from New York University and her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

Michael Rapp is a licensed attorney in the states of Kansas and Missouri. Since graduating law school, Michael has focused his practice exclusively on consumer law with a concentration on Fair Debt Collection Practices, Credit Reporting, and Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Michael Rapp graduated from UMKC School of Law, where he served as Research Administrator for Friedman on Leases and was awarded the Sanford B. Ladd Award for his exceptional achievement in Real Estate Law. Prior to attending law school, Michael served his country, was decorated, and was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force.

Chi Chi Wu is a staff attorney at NCLC focusing on consumer credit issues, including fair credit reporting, credit cards, tax-consumer issues, and medical debt. Chi Chi is lead author of Fair Credit Reporting Act and a contributing author to Collection Actions, Consumer Credit Regulation, and Truth in Lending.

Friday, May 15, 2020 - 1:15pm to 2:15pm

Develop and prove damages in FCRA cases

Speakers

Duran Keller is a trial lawyer. He has been rated a Super Lawyers Rising Star. Duran takes the Robin Hood approach, taking from the greedy and giving to the needy. He is a graduate of the Gerry Spence three-week Trial Lawyers College and is admitted to practice in Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and various federal jurisdictions. Most of Duran’s attention is devoted to consumer law, but he often takes cases that upset him, regardless of money. Duran is creative and passionate. He fights against all types of injustices, ranging from unfair charges, collection attempts, and credit reporting to egregious § 1983 police brutality cases.

Andy Milz is a trial lawyer at Flitter Milz, PC (PA, NJ, NY offices). He tries consumer fraud cases against corporate bad actors and has obtained actual and punitive damage jury verdicts for victimized consumers. Andy has been published in peer-reviewed journals and treatises, has lectured nationally on consumer law subjects, and is an active member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. Andy attended Temple Law School in Philadelphia, PA and is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, Dubois, WY.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Develop your practice to handle FCRA claims and still have a consistent cash flow

Speakers

Cary Flitter

Larry P. Smith is a consumer attorney, handling matters involving the FCRA, FDCPA, and EFTA, as well as state consumer fraud/UDAP matters for over eighteen years. He is the managing partner at SmithMarco, P.C., which he established in 2005. Mr. Smith has tried dozens of consumer rights cases to verdict in the state and federal courts of Illinois, Georgia, and Wisconsin and has arbitrated over 700 cases. Additionally, he has amicably resolved over 4,000 consumer fraud, FCRA, and FDCPA cases via settlement. Mr. Smith earned his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in 1993. He earned his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1990. Mr. Smith has been a member of NACA for the past twelve years and has served as Illinois state chair.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Developing your punitive damages case through discovery

Speakers

Craig Marchiando focuses his practice on representing consumers in lawsuits brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Litigating mainly class action cases, Craig has represented thousands of consumers in successfully obtaining benefits under the FCRA’s broad protections and has been appointed class counsel by numerous courts across the country. In 2019 alone, Craig’s cases have yielded more than $5 million in relief to nationwide classes of consumers. Craig has also handled all aspects of individual FCRA cases, from client intake, to discovery and motions practice, to trials and post-trial proceedings.

Stephanie Tatar has been a consumer advocate since graduating cum laude from DePaul University, College of Law. Prior to founding The Tatar Law Firm, Ms. Tatar gained extensive litigation and appellate experience with firms in Chicago and Los Angeles. During her career, she has successfully fought debt collectors, credit reporting agencies, creditors, manufacturers, and car dealers.

Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm

Updates on FCRA-related issues

Speaker

Chi Chi Wu is a staff attorney at NCLC focusing on consumer credit issues, including fair credit reporting, credit cards, tax-consumer issues, and medical debt. Chi Chi is lead author of Fair Credit Reporting Act and a contributing author to Collection Actions, Consumer Credit Regulation, and Truth in Lending.