Introduction to the Saga
G. John Cento began his career as an attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Katz & Korin, P.C., where he worked with Robert Schuckit. Trans Union was a client first of Schuckit, and then Katz & Korin (now Katz Korin Cunningham) when Schuckit joined the firm. Cento began representing Trans Union in 2001, and between 2003 and 2005 worked almost exclusively on Trans Union cases. Schuckit then left Katz & Korin in June 2005 to form his own law firm, Schuckit & Associates. Cento followed, but he stayed with Schuckit’s new firm for just a month.
Almost all of the cases in which Cento represented Trans Union involved the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA imposes a duty to maintain reasonable procedures for accurate reporting. See 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b). The Act authorizes a private cause of action for consumers against consumer reporting agencies such as Trans Union for willful, knowing, or negligent failures to comply with the law. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681n–p. A defendant may avoid liability for violations that occur despite the defendant’s good‐faith effort to comply with the law. See, e.g., 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681g(e)(5), (7).
Cento defended Trans Union against those claims of FCRA violations for five years. Between 2001 and 2005, he represented Trans Union in over 250 cases and billed over 4,000 hours of work for Trans Union. He worked with Trans Union’s in‐house counsel and employees, and he was given access to any information necessary for litigation. Today, twelve years after Cento last represented Trans Union, Schuckit and his firm continue to represent Trans Union. Some of the Trans Un‐ ion employees with whom Cento worked remain with the company.
In 2013, Cento formed Cento Law, which represents consumers bringing FCRA violation claims against credit reporting agencies. In 2012, and again in 2013, Cento was disqualified from cases in which he represented plaintiffs who brought claims against his former client, Trans Union.
Childress v. Trans Union, LLC (Childress I), No. 1:12‐CV‐00184‐TWP‐DML, 2012 WL 6728339 (S.D. Ind. Dec. 28, 2012)
Hobson v. Trans Union, LLC, No. 1:13‐CV‐ 54, 2013 WL 2443917 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 21, 2013)
In Part 2 of this series we will examine the Childress and Hobson cases in greater detail. Parts 3 and 4 of the Series will cover the Watkins case through to the Seventh Circuit opinion which ultimately found that Cento should not be disqualified from litigating on behalf of consumers against Trans Union.