Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: May 16, 2016
  • Case #: 13-1339
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

In a federal claim, an allegation of a mere procedural violation of law is not concrete enough to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of standing.

Petitioner operates a background search service that allows users to obtain personal information aggregated from various sources. Respondent brought a federal class action claim concerning inaccurate information conferred by the service, he argued, in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA). Respondent’s case was dismissed by the district court for lack of standing, which the Ninth Circuit reversed for further proceedings. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Ninth Circuit’s standing analysis was correct. The Court noted that Plaintiff must have suffered an injury-in-fact to have standing under Article III of the Constitution, defined as an actual or imminently invaded, legally protected interest, the harm of which is both: (1) concrete, and (2) particular. The Court determined that a mere procedural violation of FCRA does not satisfy the concreteness requirement, because not all procedural violations of FCRA constitute a material harm (e.g. if a zip code was not accurate in a report a harm is not necessarily suffered). Because Respondent alleged procedural violations of FCRA, and the Ninth Circuit did not analyze whether any of the allegations constitute a concrete harm, the Court instructed the Ninth Circuit to complete its analysis. VACATED and REMANDED.

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