James A. Francis

James A. FrancisJAMES A. FRANCIS has been admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third, Fourth and Ninth Circuits, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, as well as the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts. He is a 1992 graduate of Muhlenberg College (B.A., cum laude) and a 1995 graduate of the Temple University Beasley School of Law. In law school, he won the 1995 Wapner, Newman & Wigrizer, P.C. award for excellence in civil trial advocacy, was awarded outstanding oral advocacy and served as President of the Student Bar Association. Following law school, Mr. Francis was associated with Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Rothweiler in Philadelphia. Since 1998, he has focused his practice in consumer protection litigation, with a particular concentration in fair credit reporting, fair debt collection practices and consumer class actions.

In 2004, Mr. Francis was the youngest lawyer to be ranked in the Top 100 Superlawyers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia Magazine and Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine. He was subsequently ranked a Top 100 Pennsylvania Superlawyer in 2008, 2012, 2014-2018 and has been regularly ranked one of the Top 100 Superlawyers in Philadelphia since 2004. He has lectured and spoken extensively on the FCRA, and has published articles on the subject as well. He has appeared on various news programs including the Today Show and PBS NewsHour to discuss consumer-related issues, and was featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s biographical “Question & Answer” segment in February of 2009.   Mr. Francis argued the seminal FCRA case of Cortez v. Trans Union before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been certified to serve as Class counsel in over 35 consumer class actions, has been trial counsel in two class actions to successful plaintiff’s verdicts, and has served as counsel to some of the largest FCRA settlements in history.

In May of 2014, Mr. Francis was presented with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia’s Equal Justice Award at its annual Breakfast of Champions. He was also selected as one of a small national group of plaintiffs’ lawyers to be featured in Law 360’s Titans of the Plaintiff’s Bar series in October of 2014. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA).

Class Counsel Certifications

Mr. Francis has been certified to serve as class counsel by numerous courts, including:

  • Goode v. First Advantage LNS Screening Solutions, Inc., f/k/a LexisNexis Screening Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. 11-cv-02950 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 29, 2014) (Doc. 77)
  • Blandina v. Midland Funding, LLC, 2014 WL 7338744 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 23, 2014);
  • King v. General Information Services, Inc., C.A. No. 11-06850 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 4, 2014) (Doc. 125)
  • Robinson v. General Information Services, Inc., C.A. No. 11-07782 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 4, 2014) (Doc. 55)
  • Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, 2014 WL 3734525 (N.D. Cal. July 24, 2014)
  • White v. Experian Information Solutions, 993 F. Supp. 2d 1154, 1172 (C.D. Ca. 2014)
  • Sapp v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 2:10-04312 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 29, 2013) (Doc. 31)
  • LaRocque v. TRS Recovery Services, Inc., 2012 WL 291191 (D. Me. July 17, 2012)
  • Ryals et al. v. Hireright Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. 3:09-625 (E.D. Va. July 7, 2011)
  • Serrano v. Sterling Testing Systems, Inc., 711 F. Supp. 2d 402 (E.D. Pa. 2010)
  • Summerfield v. Equifax Information Services, LCC, 264 F.R.D. 133 (D. N.J. 2009)
  • Chakejian v. Equifax Information Services, LLC, 256 F.R.D. 492 (E.D. Pa. 2009)
  • Jones v. Midland Funding, LLC, C.A. No. 3:08-802 (RNC) (D. Conn. October 13, 2009);
  • Barel v. Bank of America, 255 F.R.D. 393 (E.D. Pa. 2009)
  • Mann v. Verizon, C.A. No. 06-5370 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 26, 2008)
  • Smith v. Grayling Corp., 2008 WL 3861286, C.A. No. 07-1905 (E.D. Pa. 2008)
  • Strausser v. ACB Receivables Management, Inc., 2008 WL 859224 (E.D. Pa. March 28, 2008)
  • Nienaber v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., 2007 WL 2003761 (D.S.D. July 5, 2007)
  • Jordan v. Commonwealth Financial Systems, Inc., 237 F.R.D. 132, (E.D. Pa. 2006)
  • Marino v. UDR, 2006 WL 1687026, C.A. No. 05-2268 (E.D. Pa. June 14, 2006)
  • Seawell v. Universal Fidelity Corp, 235 F.R.D. 64 (E.D. Pa. 2006)
  • Perry v. FleetBoston Financial Corp., 229 F.R.D.105 (E.D. Pa. 2005)
  • Beck v. Maximus, Inc., 2005 WL 589749 (E.D. Pa. 2005), vacated on other grounds, Beck v. Maximus, 457 F. 3d 291, 2006 WL 2193603 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2006)
  • Stoner v. CBA Information Services, 352 F. Supp. 2d 549 (E.D. Pa. 2005)
  • Bittner v. Trans Union, LLC, C.A. No. 04-2562 (E.D. Pa. January 4, 2005)
  • Wisneski v. Nationwide Collections, Inc., 227 F.R.D. 259 (E.D. Pa. 2004)
  • Petrolito v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, 221 F.R.D. 303 (D. Conn. 2004)
  • Orloff v. Syndicated Office Systems, Inc., 2004 WL 870691 (E.D. Pa 2004)
  • Bonett v. Education Debt Services, Inc., 2003 WL 21658267 (E.D. Pa. 2003)
  • Gaumer v. The Bon-Ton Stores, C.A. No. 02-8611 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 30, 2003)
  • Street v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, C.A. No. 01-3684 (E.D. Pa. July 30, 2003)
  • Samuel-Bassett v. Kia Motors America, Inc., 212 F.R.D. 271 (E.D. Pa. 2000), vacated on other grounds
  • Oslan v. Law Offices of Mitchell N. Kay, 232 F. Supp. 2d 436 (E.D. Pa. 2002)
  • Oslan v. Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, 206 F.R.D. 109 (E.D. Pa. 2002)
  • Saunders v. Berks Credit & Collections, 2002 WL 1497374 (E.D. Pa. 2002)
  • Schilling v. Let’s Talk Cellular and Wireless, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3352 (E.D. Pa. 2002)
  • Fry v. Hayt, Hayt and Landau, 198 F.R.D. 461 (E.D. Pa. 2000)
  • Smith v. First Union Mortgage Corporation, 1999 WL 509967 (E.D. Pa. 1999)
  • Miller v. Inovision, December Term, 1999, No. 3504 (C.P. Phila. County).

Notable Cases

  • Ryals et al. v. Hireright Solutions, Inc., C.A. No. 3:09cv625 (E.D. Va. Dec. 22, 2011) — $28.3 million national settlement achieved for class of consumers subjected to employment background checks in case brought under Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); believed to be the 3rd largest FCRA settlement in history
  • Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, 617 F.3d 688 (3d. Cir. 2010)—argued precedential case of first impression before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which outlines the liability, causation and damages standards for FCRA cases against credit reporting agencies—$800,000 jury verdict against Trans Union in fair credit reporting case (remitted to $150,000)
  • Little v. Kia Motors America, Inc., 2003 WL 25568765 (N.J.Super.L. 2003)—6 million dollar (approximate) verdict for class of New Jersey car purchasers, damages later decertified
  • Samuel-Bassett v. Kia Motors America, Inc., C.P. Phila. County, January Term, 2001, No. 2199—5.6 million dollar verdict for class of Pennsylvania car purchasers
  • Serrano v. Sterling Testing Systems, Inc., —F.Supp.2d—, 2008 WL 2223007 (E.D. Pa. May 30, 2008)—federal court finding as a matter of first impression what defines a record of arrest under the FCRA
  • Ziegenfuse v. Apex Asset Management, LLC, 239 F.R.D. 400 (E.D. Pa. 2006)—obtained court decision holding that offers of judgment under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure cannot be used in class actions
  • Stoner v. CBA Information Services, 352 F. Supp. 2d 549 (E.D. Pa. 2005)—obtained $772,500 settlement for class of consumers who disputed errors in their credit reports
  • Richburg v. Palisades Collection, LLC, 247 F.R.D. 457 (E.D. Pa. 2008)—federal court ruled that actions to collect delinquent credit card debt in Pennsylvania subject to 4 year statute of limitations (not 6 as the defendant collection agency had argued)
  • Perry v. FleetBoston Financial Corp., 2004 WL 1508518 (E.D. Pa. 2004)—defeated motion to compel arbitration in class action brought under Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Crane v. Trans Union, LLC, 282 F. Supp. 2d 311 (E.D. Pa. 2003)—federal court held that credit reporting agencies that merely parrot information from credit furnishers and fail to forward dispute documentation face claims for punitive damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act; violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act presents a violation of Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law); Lawrence v. Trans Union, LLC, 296 F. Supp. 2d 582 (E.D. Pa. 2003)–same
  • Wisneski v. Nationwide Collections, Inc., 227 F.R.D. 259 (E.D. Pa. 2004)—obtained class certification in Fair Debt Collection Practices action in which a Pennsylvania federal court held for the first time that statutory net worth limitation is not limited to balance sheet net worth, and includes equity, capital stock and goodwill
  • Evantash v. G.E. Capital Mortgage Services, Inc., 2003 WL 22844198 (E.D. Pa. 2003)—federal court held that technical accuracy defense was not available to defendants under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Sheffer v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 2003 WL 21710573 (E.D. Pa. 2003)—federal court held that Fair Credit Reporting Act permits as recoverable damage emotional distress in trying to correct errors in a consumer’s credit file, even where no pecuniary or out-of-pocket losses
  • Sheffer v. Experian Information Solutions Inc., 249 F. Supp. 2d 560 (E.D. Pa. 2003)—federal court held that FCRA provides a private right of action against furnishers of information
  • Sullivan v. Equifax, Inc. et al., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7884 (E.D. Pa. 2002)—federal court held that reporting a debt to a credit reporting agency is a communication covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Wenrich v. Cole, 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18687 (E.D. Pa. 2000)—federal court held that FDCPA provides protection for all persons, not just consumers
  • Jaramillo v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 155 F. Supp. 2d 356 (E.D. Pa. 2001); 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10221 (E.D. Pa. 2001)—federal court held that single publication rule does not apply to actions brought for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Lectures/Presentations By Invitation

  • Co-Chair and Speaker, NACA 2013 FCRA Conference, National Association of Consumer Advocates, May 29th-June 1st, 2013
  • Presenter, Beyond E-Oscar: Litigating “Non-Credit” FCRA Cases, Webinar, National Association of Consumer Advocates, February 27th, 2013
  • Faculty, FDCPA Class Actions: Latest Litigation Developments, Strafford Webinars and Publications, November 8, 2012
  • Speaker, Consumer Finance Class Actions: FCRA and FACTA: Leveraging New Developments in Certification, Damages and Preemption, Strafford Webinars and Publications, March 21, 2012
  • Speaker, FCRA Developments, Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, National Consumer Law Center, Seattle, Washington, October 2012
  • Speaker, 11th Consumer Class Action Symposium, National Consumer Law Center, Chicago, Illinois, November 6, 2011
  • Speaker, Tenant, Employment and Chexsystems Reports, Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, National Consumer Law Center, Chicago, Illinois, November 3-6, 2011
  • Speaker, Specialty Consumer Reports and the FCRA, FCRA Conference on Consumer Credit, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Memphis, Tennessee, May 20-22, 2011
  • Panelist, Taking on the Challenges Facing Workers with Criminal Records: Advancing the Legal and Policy Advocacy Agenda, National Employment Law Project, Washington, D.C., April 5, 2011
  • Faculty, 16th Annual Consumer Financial Services Litigation Institute (CLE-accredited), Collection Issues Including The TCPA & Hot Topics, Practising Law Institute, New York, NY and Chicago, IL, March 2011
  • Speaker, ABCs of Fair Credit Reporting, Tips on FCRA Depositions, Evolution of Credit Reporting Industries, Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, National Consumer Law Center, Boston, Massachusetts, November 11-14, 2010
  • Faculty, Banking and Consumer Financial Services Law Update, Litigation and Arbitration Update, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, April 14, 2010
  • Faculty, Deposit-Side Litigation Developments & Credit Card Developments, 14th Annual Consumer Financial Services Litigation Institute, New York, NY and Chicago, IL, March and April 2009
  • Faculty, 13th Annual Consumer Financial Services Litigation Institute (CLE-accredited), Practising Law Institute, New York, NY and Chicago, IL, January 2008, March 2008
  • Speaker, Fair Credit Reporting Act Conference, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Chicago, IL May 8-10, 2009
  • Faculty, 12th Annual Consumer Financial Services Litigation Institute (CLE-accredited), Practising Law Institute, New York, NY, March 2007
  • Faculty, Fair Credit Reporting Litigation, Consumer Protection Law (CLE-accredited), Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, PA and Mechanicsburg, PA, December 2004, March 2007
  • Speaker, Litigating Accuracy Issues with Furnishers of Credit Data, National Association of Consumer Advocates, New Orleans, LA, June 2-5, 2005
  • Speaker, Philadelphia Housing Expo, Homeownership Counseling Association of the Delaware Valley, 2005 and 2006
  • Speaker, Understanding Credit Scoring, Consumer Rights Litigation Conference, National Consumer Law Center, Boston, MA, November 7, 2004
  • Speaker, Litigating Accuracy Issues With Credit Reporting Agencies, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Chicago, Ill., May 14-16, 2004
  • Speaker, Protecting Privacy, Ensuring Accuracy, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Albuquerque, NM, June 1, 2002
  • Faculty/Speaker, Credit Reporting and Debt Collection Litigation, Municipal Court Judicial Conference (CLE), Pennsylvania, PA, May 6, 1999
  • Speaker, The People’s Law School, Philadelphia Bar Association, Philadelphia, PA, October 2004
  • Guest Lecturer, Consumer Protection Law course, Temple Law School, 2003-2007
  • Guest Lecturer, Consumer Protection Law course, Widener Law School, 2004-2009

Publications

  • The FCRA: A Double-Edged Sword for Consumer Data SellersGP SOLO Magazine, American Bar Association, Volume 29, Number 6, November/December 2012
  • Credit Rating Damage: Compensable, Yet Overlooked Damage in Tort Cases, The Verdict, Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, Volume 2008-2009-Issue 6 (2009).

Committee Appointments and Positions

Mr. Francis currently serves as co-chair on the National Association of Consumer Advocates Fair Debt Collection and Credit Reporting Legislative Issue Committee. He has served on the Editorial Board of the Consumer Financial Services Law Report, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service Committee (where he served as chair or co-chair for 3 years), and has served on the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Federal Court’s Committee. He has served as an arbitrator for the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County and is on the Judge Pro Tem panel. He is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association, and National Association of Consumer Advocates.