JOHN SOUMILAS concentrates his practice in consumer protection law, including fair credit reporting, fair debt collection, and consumer class actions. John litigates individual and class action cases primarily in federal court on behalf of victims of identity theft, persons defamed and otherwise harmed by credit errors, individuals harassed and deceived by debt collectors, and many others who are subjected to fraudulent or unfair trade practices.
John has been repeatedly recognized by Philadelphia Magazine as a “SuperLawyer,” a recognition received by only 5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania.
Through settlements and verdicts, John has recovered tens of millions of dollars on behalf of victimized consumers and has forced debt collectors, banks and credit bureaus to make pro-consumer changes to their records and practices. Among John’s recent accomplishments are:
- Jury Trials: Tried several cases and obtained some of the highest jury verdicts in cases brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), including the highest known FCRA jury verdicts in Pennsylvania and Michigan. See Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, Civ. No. 05-5684 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 26, 2007); Dixon-Rollins v. Trans Union, LLC, Civ. No. 09-0646 (E.D. Pa. March 9, 2010); and Smith v. LexisNexis Screening Solutions, Inc., Civ. No. 13-10774 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 24, 2014).
- Appeals: Successfully handled several appeals and obtained some of the most favorable appellate decisions for consumers under the FCRA. See Seamans v. Temple University, 744 F.3d 853 (3d Cir. 2014); Cortez v. Trans Union, LLC, 617 F.3d 688 (3d Cir. 2010).
- Class Actions: Appointed class counsel in over a dozen consumer protection class actions and obtained class certification in unique cases, including Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, 301 F.R.D. 408 (N.D. Cal. 2014) (false terrorist alerts on credit reports); LaRocque v. TRS Recovery Services Inc., 285 F.R.D. 139 (D. Maine 2012) (deceptive collection letter for returned check and other fees); Summerfield v. Equifax Info. Servs., LLC, 264 F.R.D. 133 (D.N.J. 2010) (misrepresenting reinvestigation results of disputed bankruptcies, tax liens and civil judgments listed on credit reports).
- Notable Cases: Successfully prosecuted several consumer protection cases involving unique issues and questions of first impression, including:
- 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)
- 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 admitted to practice before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth and Ninth 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.
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).
Education & Clerkship
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.