JOHN SOUMILAS is a no-nonsense litigator and one of the firm’s shareholders. He concentrates his practice in consumer class actions and other complex litigation matters. For over 17 years, John has litigated primarily in federal court on behalf of victims of identity theft, persons defamed and otherwise harmed by credit and background screening errors, individuals harassed and deceived by collectors and other businesses, as well as consumers who are subjected to unwelcome invasions of their privacy, fraud, overcharging, and other unfair 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). John was lead class counsel and lead trial counsel in the June 2017 record-breaking $60 million dollar class action jury verdict, the largest verdict in history for a case brought under the FCRA. Throughout his career he has obtained some of the highest FCRA jury verdicts, including the highest known FCRA verdicts in Pennsylvania, California and Michigan.
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 the State University of New York at Stony Brook. John received his law degree cum laude from the Temple University Beasley School of Law in 1999, where he was a member of the Jessup Moot Court and Temple Law Review. He began his legal career by clerking for Justice Russell M. Nigro of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
John is admitted to practice before the United States Courts of Appeals for the 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.
REPRESENTATIVE CLASS ACTIONS
- Leo v. AppFolio, Inc., 3:17-cv-05771-RJB (W.D. Was. July 18, 2019) (inaccuracies in tenant screening) ($4.5M settlement);
- Clark v. Experian Info. Sols., Inc., No. 3:16-cv-00032-MHL (E.D. Va. Feb. 1, 2019) (improper reporting of tax liens and judgments) ($17M plus settlement);
- Freckleton v. Target Corp., No. 14-cv-00807-GLR (D. Md. Dec. 12, 2017 (disclosure requirements for employment background checks) ($8.5M settlement);
- Flores v. Express Personnel, C.A. No. 14-cv-03298, (E.D. Pa. Oct. 21, 2016) (several improper employment background screening practices) ($6M plus settlement);
- Magallon v. Robert Half International, Inc. WL 8778398 (D. Or. Nov. 10, 2015) (employment candidate notices too late) (class certified, pending);
- Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, 301 F.R.D. 408 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (false terrorist alerts on credit reports) (led to $60M plus jury verdict);
- LaRocque v. TRS Recovery Services Inc., 285 F.R.D. 139 (D. Maine 2012) (deceptive collection letter for returned check and other fees) ($3.4M plus settlement);
- Summerfield v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 264 F.R.D. 133 (D.N.J. 2010) (misrepresenting reinvestigation results of public record items) (injunctive and credit monitoring settlement).
UNIQUE & NOTABLE CASES
- Dennis v. Trans Union, LLC, 2014 WL 5325231 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 20, 2014) (first court to rule that consumer may sue credit reporting agency for failing to identify private vendors of public records information placed on consumer’s credit file);
- Schwartz v. Aracor Search & Abstract, Inc., 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);
- Ferguson v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 538 Fed. Appx. 782 (9th Cir. 2013) (reversing summary judgment for bank that failed to properly remove bankruptcy notation);
- 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);
- Howley v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc., 813 F. Supp. 2d 629 (D.N.J. 2011) (first court to find that consumer may sue credit reporting agency that improperly disclosed his information to an identity thief);
- Adams v. LexisNexis Risk & Info. Analytics Group, Inc., 2010 WL 1931135 (D.N.J. May 12, 2010) (first court to find that consumers may sue under FRCA over information in specialty Accurint report used by debt collectors); and
- 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).
LECTURES & PUBLICATIONS
John is 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 Predatory Lending, the FCRA and the FDCPA (NBI 2009) and How Can I Combat Identity Theft (Philadelphia Magazine, Dec. 2008).