Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

CONTINGENCIES

v3.19.1
CONTINGENCIES
12 Months Ended
Feb. 02, 2019
CONTINGENCIES  
CONTINGENCIES

14. CONTINGENCIES   

 

Fair Credit Reporting Claim

On December 11, 2014, MSI was served with a lawsuit, Christina Graham v. Michaels Stores, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by a former employee. The lawsuit is a purported class action, bringing plaintiff’s individual claims, as well as claims on behalf of a putative class of applicants who applied for employment with Michaels through an online application, and on whom a background check for employment was procured. The lawsuit alleges that MSI violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and the New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to provide the proper disclosure and obtain the proper authorization to conduct background checks. Since the initial filing, another named plaintiff joined the lawsuit, which was amended in February 2015, Christina Graham and Gary Anderson v. Michaels Stores, Inc., with substantially similar allegations. The plaintiffs sought statutory and punitive damages as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

Following the filing of the case in New Jersey, five additional purported class action lawsuits with six plaintiffs were filed, Michele Castro and Janice Bercut v. Michaels Stores, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Michelle Bercut v. Michaels Stores, Inc. in the Superior Court of California for Sonoma County, Raini Burnside v. Michaels Stores, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Sue Gettings v. Michaels Stores, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Barbara Horton v. Michaels Stores, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. All of the plaintiffs alleged violations of the FCRA. In addition, the Castro, Horton and Janice Bercut lawsuits also alleged violations of California’s unfair competition law. The Burnside, Horton and Gettings lawsuits, as well as the claims by Michele Castro, have been dismissed. The Graham, Janice Bercut and Michelle Bercut lawsuits were transferred for centralized pretrial proceedings to the District of New Jersey. On January 24, 2017, the Company’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing was granted, and the court declined to rule on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims. The dismissal order was stayed for 30 days to allow the plaintiffs to amend their complaints. Because there were no amendments filed, two of the three centralized cases were dismissed and subsequently appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the remaining case (Michelle Bercut) was remanded to California Superior Court. The parties reached a class settlement which was approved by the California Superior Court on October 10, 2018. The resolution of the lawsuits did not have a material effect on our consolidated financial statements.

 

General

 

In addition to the litigation discussed above, we are now, and may be in the future, involved in various other lawsuits, claims and proceedings incident to the ordinary course of business. The results of litigation are inherently unpredictable. Any claims against us, whether meritorious or not, could be time consuming, result in costly litigation, require significant amounts of management time and result in diversion of significant resources.