IADC Amicus Curiae Update on Spokeo v. Robins

May 23, 2016 06:04 PM

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Article III standing decision in Spokeo v. Robins, in which the IADC participated as amicus curiae alongside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and other business organizations.

In Spokeo, the Court reaffirmed that the injury-in-fact requirement for Article III standing in federal court requires a plaintiff to allege an injury that is both “concrete” and “particularized.” The Court provided additional guidance on what amounts to “concrete” harm by making clear that just because Congress may have enacted a statute that “identif[ies] and elevat[es] intangible harms” to give rise to a cause of action, including statutory damages, “does not mean that a plaintiff automatically satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement whenever a statute grants a person a statutory right and purports to authorize that person to sue to vindicate that right.” In other words, “a bare procedural violation, divorced from any concrete harm,” such as dissemination of an incorrect zip code in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, is not enough to create standing.

Dozens of purported class actions across the country brought under a variety of different statutes which govern how companies gather, share, or sell consumer information (including the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transmission Act (FACTA)) have been stayed pending the outcome in Spokeo. After Spokeo, many of those cases are likely to be dismissed.

To view the amicus brief, click here. To view the opinion of the Court, click here.

For additional analysis of the decision, please see a recent Law360 article and a Weekly Appellate Podcast in which IADC Amicus Chair M.C. Sungaila was interviewed.

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