Ninth Circuit to Consider Constitutionality of California’s Reporting Agencies Law

Is California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (“ICRAA”) constitutional? The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to hear oral argument on the question on February 2, 2015.

California created two separate laws when enacting a state analogue to the FCRA. The Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (“CCRAA”) governs “consumer credit reports,” defined as “any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer credit reporting agency bearing on a consumer’s creditworthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity.”

The second statute, ICRAA, covers “investigative consumer reports,” defined to include “information on a consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living … obtained through any means.”

The statutes provide consumers with different rights and as a general rule, ICRAA contains stricter duties and more severe penalties than the CCRAA.

The federal court dismissed the suit in two orders (the first order tossed the state law claims while the second did away with the FCRA allegations). Addressing the ICRAA claims, the court found the statute unconstitutionally vague as it applied to tenant screening reports containing criminal history information because a person of reasonable intelligence could not discern whether criminal information constituted “character” information under the ICRAA or “creditworthiness” governed by the CCRAA.

To read the first dismissal order on the ICRAA issues, click here .

To read the second order on the FCRA issues, click here .

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Posted Under: EBI

Post By Barry Nixon (262 Posts)

W. Barry Nixon is the COO, the leading background screening information portal and online worldwide directory of professional background screening firms and Suppliers to the background screening industry. He co-authored the landmark book, Background Screening & Investigations: Managing Hiring Risk from the HR and Security Perspective. He also is the publisher of award winning newsletters, The Background Buzz and The Global Background Screener, and the author of the Background Checks column in PI Magazine.

In addition, Barry is a past recipient of the elite ‘Top 25 Influential People in Security’ by Security Magazine and past Co-Chair, International Committee for the National Association for Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). He currently serves as a Global Ambassador for NAPBS.

You can contact Barry at 1-949-770-5264 or online at