In the News 05/12/2015

The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) recently granted a petition seeking the review of what may be a historic standing case. SCOTUS will hear this case against the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) during the October 2015 term.

The case involves a plaintiff claiming that he suffered actual harm when an online search engine acting as a credit reporting agency (CRA) published inaccurate information about his character and background, a violation of the FCRA. The act requires CRAs to maintain accuracy and provide notice of published information.

SCOTUS’ decision to hear the case has gained national attention. Various briefs have been written highlighting the affects a ruling on this issue could have.

Widely considered the most talked about privacy class action law suit of the year, Robins v. Spokeo, Inc. (No. 13-1339) was originally heard before a federal district court. The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate the “injury-in-fact” standard. Also called “standing,” “injury-in-fact” is a term used for the ability to demonstrate sufficient harm. The Ninth Circuit Court reversed this ruling, suggesting that the plaintiff does not need to demonstrate actual damages to file suit.

SCOTUS’ final decision will affect the degree to which consumers can utilize federal statutes to recover without proving additional causal injury, and an affirmation of the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision could open the courts up to a flood of “no-injury” lawsuits that force defendants to pay millions of dollars in damages without plaintiff’s proving any actual harm.

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