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May 16, 2016

Stroock Special Bulletin

By: Julia B. Strickland, Stephen J. Newman, Brian C. Frontino

On May 16, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated ruling in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13–1339, addressing the standing requirement for civil claims asserting violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (the “FCRA”). Finding the Ninth Circuit’s constitutional standing analysis “incomplete” for not considering whether plaintiff alleged both a “particularized” injury as well as a “concrete injury in fact,” the Supreme Court vacated and remanded with instructions to consider both aspects of the injury-in-fact requirement.
This Stroock Special Bulletin discusses the Spokeo opinion, which on the whole appears to be a victory for the defense, potentially allowing arguments to limit class actions to persons with “concrete” injury. The Supreme Court’s analysis, while based on the FCRA, is general enough to potentially apply to a wide range of statutes that permit statutory damages without expressly requiring proof of actual damages, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. (the “TCPA”), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, 12 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., and the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2721 et seq.