This blog post is the second in a series of posts that Baker & Hostetler LLP is devoting to the significant decision Robins v. Spokeo, No. 13-1339, 537 U.S. ___ (2016) (Spokeo). Monday’s post focused on Spokeo’s effect on privacy class actions and big data. Today’s post focuses on the decision’s impact on class actions.
On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Spokeo. In the 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Ninth Circuit’s Article III standing analysis did not consider both injury-in-fact elements – the Ninth Circuit addressed whether the injury was particularized, but did not analyze whether the injury was “concrete.”
Spokeo concerned allegations that Spokeo, Inc., an operator of a “people search engine,” gathered and disseminated inaccurate information about the plaintiff in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (slip op. at 4-5). Upon learning about the inaccurate information (through means not detailed in the complaint), the plaintiff filed a class-action complaint against Spokeo. But the district court dismissed the complaint, holding that plaintiff did not properly plead an injury-in-fact as required under Article III. (slip op. at syllabus).
On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed on grounds that the plaintiff had alleged injury-in-fact due to his allegation that “Spokeo violated his statutory rights” and because Mr. Robins’ “personal interests in the handling of his credit information are individualized.” Id.