Judge allows suit over drivers’ work histories

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A federal judge will allow the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to move forward in its class-action suit against USIS Commercial Services, formerly known as DAC Services.

OOIDA charges that the Oklahoma-based company, which collects the employment histories of millions of truck drivers, distributes inaccurate information that drivers have no opportunity to correct.

U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn, based in Denver, ruled March 7 that OOIDA may seek damages, costs and – if willful violations are proven – punitive damages for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

However, OOIDA may not seek “equitable relief,” such as a share of any profits judged to be ill-gotten, or an injunction to prevent the company from distributing the employment histories, Blackburn ruled.

That part of the decision will not affect OOIDA’s case significantly, said general counsel Paul D. Cullen.

The judge also ruled that fleets that submit termination records to the company count as “consumer reporting agencies” and therefore potentially are accountable under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The trial is scheduled for May 2006.

USIS did not comment on the ruling.

According to the USIS website, the company’s clients include 95 of the top 100 U.S. carriers, and its proprietary files contain the work histories of more than 4 million drivers.