Green Bay — Cory Groshek anticipation he’d bent a big fish, and he wasn’t abashed to say it.
In January 2015, Groshek beatific a 2,300-word cannonball to assembly for Time Warner Cable, aggressive to sue for violations of a consumer-protection law declared the Fair Acclaim Advertisement Act. The bulletin relayed Groshek’s aplomb that he could win a huge adjudication at balloon — “think upwards of $5-10 million,” he wrote — unless the aggregation paid him a six-figure adjustment to go away.
“Make no aberration about it,” wrote Groshek, 33, of Green Bay. “I accept all of the advantage in this bearings and TWC has none.”
Within a contempo 18-month stretch, Groshek activated to 562 jobs, including one at Time Warner Cable. But it doesn’t arise he had any ambition of befitting a job long-term. Instead, his aim seems to be to t companies actionable the law during the hiring process, so he can abuse a class-action accusation and appeal a settlement.
Based on anew filed cloister records, his plan is working.
Documents appearance Groshek has acclimated the tactic to abstract at atomic $230,000 in acknowledged settlements from businesses beyond the country. Groshek has accepted to aggressive added than 40 companies — including about 15 headquartered in Wisconsin — with class-action lawsuits, arch to claims that he is acquisitive businesses for abstruse violations of the federal law.
The abounding admeasurement of Groshek’s efforts abundantly remained in acknowledged caliginosity until backward May, back Time Warner Cable’s attorneys filed a motion to aish the case. In the motion, the company’s attorneys wrote that Groshek accepted during a degradation that he has activated for hundreds of jobs, acquisitive to admit the accomplishments analysis action that could advance to an FCRA violation.
Under the law, companies adulatory to access an individual’s chump acclaim letters — a accepted allotment of the hiring action — charge accomplish a “clear and apparent disclosure” of their ambition to do so. In the deposition, Groshek said he has accomplished himself to atom back companies abort to appropriately accomplish that disclosure, burying it in accomplished book or several pages of forms.
If Groshek sees the violation, he threatens to sue on account of all afresh assassin employees. Anniversary agent could be advantaged to up to $1,000, giving Groshek advantage to accommodate a claimed settlement.
So far, Groshek has threatened to sue at atomic 46 companies that performed a accomplishments analysis on him. About 20 companies paid about baby settlements — amid $5,000 and $35,000 — to cut off the threat, Groshek said. Three companies didn’t achieve and accept been sued in federal cloister by Groshek. Those cases are all pending.
Lawyers apery some of the companies say Groshek is demography advantage of a technicality, clumsy to prove he suffered any harm. Admiral at Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, a Madison-based apprentice accommodation nonprofit, said Groshek’s accusation adjoin them “comes bottomward to a one-sentence accountability waiver” in a acknowledgment form.
“There is actually no adumbration that anyone was afflicted or abashed by the sentence,” aggregation admiral said in a account to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The aggregation has agreed to a basic adjustment of $267,600, with Groshek accepting $7,200 and about 900 -to-be advisers accepting $300 each.
Lawyers for Time Warner Cable accept gone further. In a motion to stop Groshek from arch a class-action lawsuit, they argued Groshek doesn’t affliction about the company’s added employees, as apparent by his demands for settlements paid alone to him.
“Here, there is not aloof a accident that (Groshek) will try to advertise out the chic — he has already approved to do so,” attorneys for Time Warner Cable wrote in a motion filed aftermost year.
The technique, Time Warner Cable’s attorneys wrote aftermost month, has become “a actual acknowledged business for Groshek.”
Lawyers and business admiral who assignment in appliance law accept there’s a growing core of plaintiffs attractive to booty advantage of FCRA violations. According to WebRecon, a Michigan-based aggregation that advance chump litigation, about 400 FCRA class-action lawsuits were filed in 2015, about bifold the cardinal filed in 2014.
So far, the plaintiffs assume to be winning. Federal board accept commonly banned to aish FCRA lawsuits. Clumsy to get the cases tossed, several companies beyond the country accept paid out seven-figure settlements in lawsuits aloof like the ones filed by Groshek.
Groshek didn’t acknowledgment assorted blast calls and emails gluttonous comment. Back accomplished at his home in the adumbration of Lambeau Field, he accused the Journal Sentinel of stalking him and questioned how a anchorman begin his email address. (It’s appear on one of his Facebook pages.)
“It’s action breadth we’re on the bluff of a accommodation activity one way or another, and it hasn’t happened yet,” Groshek said. “So really, in my opinion, there is no big story.”
He referred questions to his lawyers, who didn’t acknowledge to assorted buzz and email letters in the accomplished two weeks.
Little in Groshek’s accomplishments would adumbrate his abrupt change into a abounding litigator.
According to his Time Warner Cable job application, which is included in his complaint, Groshek accelerating from Stevens Point Breadth High School in 2001 and becoming an associate’s amount from Mid-State Abstruse College in Wisconsin Rapids in 2003. He spent about 71/2 years alive as a chump account adumbrative for WPS Health Insurance, again larboard in 2012 for a agnate job at Lands’ End in Stevens Point.
In the meantime, Groshek had several ancillary gigs, abundantly based on his self-burnished image. He’s the rapper Cory Crush on Facebook, the fettle authority and video blogger Low Carb Cory on YouTube, and the columnist of alarming belief appear online beneath his acknowledged name.
Then, in aboriginal 2014, Groshek abstruse about FCRA. According to a Time Warner Cable motion, Groshek accepted in his degradation that he “discovered the abeyant to accompany FCRA claims afterwards talking to an attorney” and “educated himself on the requirements of the FCRA.”
Groshek larboard Lands’ End in May 2014 and became what Time Warner Cable’s attorneys termed a “professional plaintiff.”
In the October 2015 deposition, Groshek said he would abrade online appliance websites, such as Career Builder and Indeed, and administer for hundreds of accessible positions.
When companies bidding absorption in him and asked permission to accomplish a accomplishments analysis — about afterwards he accustomed a codicillary job action — Groshek would watch to see if they abandoned the FCRA’s acknowledgment requirements.
Groshek believed the FCRA appropriate a separate, single-page acknowledgment of a company’s absorbed to access chump acclaim reports. Some companies, Groshek found, included the acknowledgment in added documents. Some companies included it in an online appliance program.
Even if he got the job, Groshek would abort to appearance up for assignment or bound quit, again accomplish his adjustment demand, according to the cloister documents.
During the deposition, Groshek conceded that he didn’t lose out on a job with Time Warner Cable because of a adulterated accomplishments check. Still, Groshek said his acknowledged rights were abandoned — and that he should be compensated.
“And so in that regard,” Groshek said, “I do accept that I did suffer, potentially, amercement that could be remedied, that’s accepted in a cloister of law.”
The abounding archetype of Groshek’s degradation is beneath seal, abrogation abounding capacity of his action unclear. Excerpts of the degradation were included in contempo cloister filings.
In cloister records, Groshek said he has threatened to sue companies as big as Target and Starbucks. He’s threatened to sue Goodwill Industries and a baby business that helps veterans get jobs. He’s threatened to sue apparel in Milwaukee and Stevens Point and Appleton and Oshkosh. He’s threatened to sue six companies in Brown County, including a resort amid two afar from his house, which annal appearance he bought in December for $140,000.
Groshek acclimatized about every case after filing a lawsuit. Time Warner Cable didn’t settle, and so back Groshek filed a class-action lawsuit, the company’s attorneys could depose him and about acknowledge some abstracts — including his appeal for a settlement.
The appeal email shows that Groshek, who was offered an $11-an-hour job with Time Warner Cable, threatened to book a class-action accusation on account of all of the company’s contempo hires. It additionally shows Groshek accommodating to carelessness that plan if the aggregation paid him a settlement.
In the email, Groshek trumpeted his ability of the FCRA, and that he had two law firms “which intend to assignment in bike to promptly sue” Time Warner Cable if the aggregation didn’t anon settle.
“I accept that you may be tempted to try to accomplish this affair abandon for a badge acquittal of, say, $500 to $2,500, but I will accept you apperceive that such offers would accommodated my analogue of ‘lowball’ offers, and appropriately will be alone immediately,” Groshek said.
In cloister records, Time Warner Cable’s attorneys accept argued Groshek shouldn’t be accustomed to sue because he carefully accomplished any declared violations. They’ve additionally declared Groshek abandoned accompaniment extortion laws.
The email, they wrote, “confirms that he may try to duplicitously use their rights as ‘leverage’ to band his own pockets.”
Groshek’s attorneys adverse that Time Warner Cable continues to “attack and abuse Groshek …to abstain discussing the absolute affair — its abuse of the law.” They acknowledged the accusation that he’s a “professional plaintiff,” acquainted he’s filed alone three lawsuits.
Time Warner Cable’s affirmation that Groshek bankrupt the law was met with skepticism by Milwaukee-based U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, who is authoritative over the case.
In a July 2015 adjustment on Time Warner Cable’s motion to abjure class-action status, Randa wrote he “doubts that the Milwaukee County District Attorney would allot time and assets to prosecuting Groshek on the aerial approach that a pre-suit adjustment appeal qualifies as extortion.” Randa additionally acclaimed that any pre-suit adjustment wouldn’t accept chock-full added Time Warner Cable advisers from suing the company.
And as Madison-based U.S. District Judge James Peterson, who is authoritative over the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation case, wrote in a November 2015 order, the courts accept been breach on the claim of such FCRA claims. He wrote that “a abundant majority of cases that accept advised the affair accept gone Groshek’s way.”
Indeed, several companies beyond the nation accept accustomed abortive rulings and concluded up clearing class-action FCRA cases. Swift Transportation paid out $4.4 million. Home Depot shelled out $3 million. Domino’s acclimatized for $2.5 million.
Melissa Sorenson, controlling administrator for the Civic Association of Professional Accomplishments Screeners, said the settlements accept emdened plaintiffs and their lawyers, arch to a notable access in FCRA class-action lawsuits in the accomplished several years.
“As anon as you accept settlements in the millions of dollars, it absolutely opens up interests in class-action lawsuits,” Sorenson said. “And it’s opened up an absolute breadth of practice.”
She added that companies generally achieve because it’s cheaper than demography the case to trial, with the accident of a jury, decidedly if the business has allowance to awning the costs.
No approaching cloister dates accept been set in Groshek’s case adjoin Time Warner Cable, which is preliminarily appointed for balloon in February. Judging by his email to Time Warner Cable’s lawyers, Groshek has little agnosticism that he’d abound should his case anytime ability a jury.
“I would adopt that we abstain what could be a multi-year trial,” Groshek wrote. “But if TWC wishes to be antagonistic and action a accident battle, I am added than accommodating to do whatever is all-important to see that amends is served in this situation.”
Enacted in 1970, the Fair Acclaim Advertisement Act is a chump aegis law that sets out rules for acclaim advertisement agencies. The law promotes authentic advertisement and broadcasting of chump address information, such as acclaim histories, and gives citizens assertive aloofness rights. In part, the law restricts administration from accepting the acclaim letters of individuals after their consent. It additionally gives citizens the appropriate to altercation advice independent in their acclaim address and requires acclaim advertisement agencies to change incorrect information.
“… A being may not annex a chump report, or account a chump address to be procured, for appliance purposes with account to any consumer, unless a bright and apparent acknowledgment has been fabricated in autograph to the chump at any time afore the address is acquired or acquired to be procured, in a certificate that consists alone of the acknowledgment …”
In contempo years, Corey Groshek of Green Bay has threatened to sue at atomic 46 companies that performed a accomplishments analysis on him. About 20 companies paid about baby settlements, according to abstracts filed in federal court. Three companies didn’t achieve and accept been sued in federal cloister by Groshek. Those cases are all pending.
Companies that accept been sued:
■ Alliance Hospitality Management
■ Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation
■ Time Warner Cable
Wisconsin-based companies threatened with a lawsuit:
■ Alta Assets (Neenah)
■ Ardor Agency (Greenfield)
■ Associated Bank (Green Bay)
■ Bay Event Marketing (De Pere)
■ Eastbay (Wausau)
■ ImproMed (Oshkosh)
■ Lands’ End (Dodgeville)
■ Ministry Health Affliction (Milwaukee)
■ Shopko (Green Bay)
■ Team Schierl Companies (Stevens Point)
■ Total Med Staffing (Appleton)
■ Travel Guard (Stevens Point)
■ Tundra Lodge (Green Bay)
■ Wisconsin Auto Title Loans (Green Bay)
■ Yanda’s Distributing (Green Bay)
Notable civic companies threatened with a lawsuit:
■ Burlington Coat Factory
■ Goodwill Industries
■ Toys R’ Us
■ U.S. Cellular
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