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John Soumilas Consumer Protection Attorney at Francis Mailman Soumilas, P.C.

John Soumilas




JOHN SOUMILAS is a partner of the firm.  His primary office is located in Philadelphia. A seasoned litigator, John has represented thousands of consumers in individual cases and class actions, with career settlements and verdicts valued at more than $180M. He currently represents persons defamed and otherwise harmed by credit reporting, employment background and tenant screening errors, victims of identity theft, students and student loan borrowers, individuals harassed and deceived by collectors and other businesses, as well as consumers who are subjected to unwelcome invasions of their privacy, overcharging, and other deceptive trade practices.

John has been repeatedly recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a “SuperLawyer,” a recognition received by only 5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania. He has been nationally recognized for his work in protecting consumer rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Throughout his career, John has obtained some of the highest consumer jury verdicts, including the highest known FCRA verdicts in Pennsylvania, California, and Michigan, and has been appointed by federal judges as class counsel in some of the largest FCRA class cases and settlements.

John lives in Philadelphia with his wife and has four adult children. John is a 1994 cum laude graduate of Rutgers University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He also holds a master’s degree in American history from Stony Brook University, obtained in 1996. John received his law degree cum laude from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in 1999, where he was a member of the Temple Law Review. He began his legal career by clerking for Justice Russell M. Nigro of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

John has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, the United States District Courts for the District of Colorado, Eastern District of Michigan, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the District of New Jersey, as well as the state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He has also successfully litigated cases on a pro hac vice basis throughout the country.

John is known for his ability to tackle a wide array of novel and complex legal problems. A sampling of his work in recent years is set forth below:

False Terrorist Alerts on Credit Reports

  • Martinez v. Avantus, LLC, 343 F.R.D. 254 (D. Conn. 2023) (certified class of mortgage applicants in case involving the reporting of inaccurate OFAC “terrorist” alerts appearing on the credit reports of innocent American consumers); later settled for $6.7M; Kang v. Credit Bureau Connection, Inc., No. 18-01359, 2022 WL 658105 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 4, 2022) (certified class of car buyers in case involving the reporting of inaccurate OFAC alerts) (also appointed class counsel and represented classes of similar consumers for false OFAC alert claims in Patel v. Trans Union, LLC, 308 F.R.D. 292 (N.D. Cal. 2015); later settled for $8M; and Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, 301 F.R.D. 408 (N.D. Cal. 2014); see also Ramirez v. Trans Union LLC, 951 F.3d 1008 (9th Cir. 2020) (upholding certification of entire class, but reversed for portion of class that lacked Article III standing per Trans Union LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021); later settled for over $9M.

Unlawful College Charges and Student Loan Collections

  • Teran v. Navient Sols. (In re Teran), No. 10-31718, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 381 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. Feb. 15, 2022) (summary judgment ruling siding with class of student debtors who had collection efforts taken against them even though certain of their student loans were discharged in their bankruptcies); later certified and settled as part of nationwide $28M damages and  $54M debt forgiveness deal, Woodard v. Navient Sols., No. 8:23-cv-301, 2024 WL 94468 (D. Neb. Jan. 9, 2024);
  • Botts v. Johns Hopkins Univ., No. 20-1335, 2021 WL 1561520 (D. Md. Apr. 21, 2021) (leading decision in litigation against universities for class of undergraduate and graduate students claiming overcharging during the Covid-19 pandemic, upholding breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims) later settled for over $10M;
  • Seamans v. Temple University, 744 F.3d 853 (3d Cir. 2014) (reversing summary judgment for credit furnisher concerning improperly reported old student loan debt, and setting standard for certain delinquent student debt that cannot be reported to the credit agencies after seven-and-a-half years).

Credit Reporting Errors and Problems

  • Norman v. Trans Union, LLC, 669 F. Supp. 3d 351 (E.D. Pa. 2023) (finding that credit reporting agency must reinvestigate consumers’ disputes of contested “hard inquiries” (credit applications) and refusing agency’s request to de-certify class); Norman v. Trans Union, LLC, 479 F.Supp.3d 98 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 14, 2020) (first court to certify class action for credit report agency’s failure to investigate hundreds of thousands of consumer disputes of certain inquiries disputed as unauthorized); followed by Rivera v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 341 F.R.D. 328 (N.D. Ga. 2022) (certifying even larger class of over 300,000 consumers for same claim);
  • Adams v. LexisNexis Risk & Info. Analytics Group, Inc., No. 08–4708, 2010 WL 1931135 (D.N.J. May 12, 2010) (first court to find that consumers may sue under FRCA over personal information in specialty Accurint credit report used by debt collectors and others) (leading to Berry v. LexisNexis Risk & Info. Analytics Group, Inc., No. 11-754, 2014 WL 4403524 (E.D. Va. Sept. 5, 2014) and resulting in $13.5M class action settlements with LexisNexis);
  • Ferguson v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 538 Fed. Appx. 782 (9th Cir. 2013) (reversing summary judgment for bank that failed to remove bankruptcy notation from consumer’s credit report).

Tenant and Employment Screening Violations

  • In re TransUnion Rental Screening Sols., Inc., Fair Credit Reporting Act Litig., 437 F. Supp. 3d 1377, 1378 (U.S. Jud. Pan. Mult. Lit. 2020) (later settled in 2023 for over $11M to compensate victims of inaccurate data on tenant screening reports);
  • McIntyre v. RealPage, Inc., 336 F.R.D. 422 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 25, 2020) (certifying claim on behalf of tenant applicants for improper reporting of stale eviction records against them in largest tenant screening class to date); later settled for over $6.3M;
  • Kelly v. Business Information Group, No. 15-6668, 2019 WL 414915 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 1, 2019) (as part of approval of over $3.1M class settlement requiring employment background screener to provide important “same time” notice to job candidates of any adverse information being included in their background reports);
  • Leo v. AppFolio, Inc., No. 17-5771, 2018 WL 623647 (W.D. Wash. Jan. 30, 2018) (upholding class action claims against start-up tenant screening company); later settled for $4.5M;
  • Flores v. Express Personnel, No. 14-03298, 2017 WL 1177098 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 30, 2017) (certifying settlement class regarding improper background screening practices by a job placement agency); later settled for over $6M;
  • Magallon v. Robert Half International, Inc., 311 F.R.D. 626 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2015) (one of few cases certifying a 5-year FCRA class on contest for failure to timely disclose adverse temp-placement decisions against job placement agency).

Throughout his career, John has litigated some of the most groundbreaking consumer rights cases including several cases involving issues of first impression.  The following is a list of cases involving complex and novel issues that John had litigated through the years:

  • Teran v. Navient Sols. (In re Teran), 649 B.R. 794 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. March 30, 2023) (certifying circuit-wide damages class and also nationwide injunctive class of student loan borrowers of non-Title IV loans subjected to unlawful post-bankruptcy collection efforts);
  • Clark v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 15-391, 2017 WL 814252 (E.D. Va. Mar. 1, 2017) (certifying one of first misreported public records FCRA classes);
  • Schwartz v. Aracor Search & Abstract, Inc., No. 13–870, 2014 WL 4493662 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 11, 2014) (upholding compensatory and punitive damages judgment against title company that misappropriated certain funds at real estate closing);
  • King v. General Info. Servs., Inc., 903 F. Supp. 2d 303 (E.D. Pa. 2012) (first court to uphold constitutionality of FCRA’s obsolescence provision for old or outdated background history);
  • Howley v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 813 F. Supp. 2d 629 (D.N.J. 2011) (first court to find that consumer may sue agency that improperly disclosed information to an identity thief);
  • Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, 617 F.3d 688 (3d Cir. 2010) (upholding first ever court finding that false terrorist/OFAC alerts are subject to the FCRA, also upholding punitive damages of case tried by same counsel before a jury at the district court level, Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 05-5684 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 26, 2007));
  • Chakejian v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 256 F.R.D. 492 (E.D. Pa. 2009) (first certified class action under FCRA section 1681i regarding consumer disputes);
  • Shames-Yeakel v. Citizens Financial Bank, 677 F. Supp. 2d 994 (N.D. Ill. 2009) (first court to rule that consumer may proceed to jury trial on claim that bank breached its duty to sufficiently secure its online banking system)
John is also a regular lecturer on consumer matters, including for the National Business Institute, National Consumer Law Center, Practicing Law Institute, National Association of Consumer Advocates, and other organizations. John has been interviewed and quoted concerning many legal issues affecting consumers by a wide range of media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine to Consumer Reports and Free Speech Radio. He has authored several popular and scholarly articles, including Third Circuit Refuses to Allow Litigant to Sidestep Its Chosen Arbitration Body’s Rules (The Legal Intelligencer Feb. 2, 2024); CFPB Tries to Nip New Wave of Unlawful Medical Debt Collection in the Bud (The Legal Intelligencer Apr. 1, 2022), Predatory Lending, the FCRA and the FDCPA (NBI 2009), and How Can I Combat Identity Theft (Philadelphia Magazine, Dec. 2008).

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