In its Workplace Class Action Blog, Seyfarth Shaw shared that on November 2, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Spokeo, Inc. V. Robins. The question before the Supreme Court could impact future class action lawsuits, and is as follows: “Does a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, but who instead alleges only a statuatory violation, have standing to bring a claim on behalf of himself or a class of individuals?”
Some background: Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins was a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lawsuit in which the plaintiff (Thomas Robins) filed a putative class action against Spokeo, Inc. (an online people search platform) because the company published inaccurate information about him on the internet. Seyfarth Shaw reported that the plaintiff “argued this information might have a negative impact on his employment prospects, but did not allege any actual harm. With no actual damages, Robins sued to recover only statutory damages. In the Ninth Circuit’s view, that was enough for to confer standing under Article III.”
Seyfarth Shaw reports that previous decisions about whether or not a plaintiff who has not suffered damages has standing to sue has been split, with some of the Circuit Courts saying “yes” and others saying “no.” And the Supreme Court’s decision in this case will affect the future of putative FCRA class action lawsuits (and possibly other class action lawsuits), as well as congressional power. Seyfarth Shaw expects a decision on this in winter or spring of 2016. And Corporate Screening will keep you updated when we learn more.