The Spokeo saga continues. As our sister blog, the Data Privacy Monitor, reported here, the United States Supreme Court’s May 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1550 (2016) (Spokeo II) vacated and remanded a Ninth Circuit decision (Spokeo I) for failure to consider the concreteness prong of the “concrete and particularized” test for constitutional Article III standing. Other courts have since grappled with Spokeo II’s impact on standing analysis, for example, as reported here. But on Aug. 15, 2017, on remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit applied the Spokeo II framework to the case and ultimately came out the same way – finding again that the plaintiff has standing. Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., No. 11-56843, 2017 WL 3480695 (9th Cir. Aug. 15, 2017) (Spokeo III).
As those familiar will recall, Spokeo operates a website that searches various sources to compile profiles on individuals that contain details about the person’s life. The plaintiff sued Spokeo in a putative class action claiming that a consumer profile Spokeo created and published on him contained inaccurate information on his age, marital status, wealth, education level and profession. His suit was based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which imposes certain procedural requirements on consumer reporting agencies and gives affected consumers a right to sue for statutory damages (otherwise viewed as statutory penalties).
On remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit set out to analyze whether the plaintiff’s alleged statutory violation was a sufficiently concrete injury to confer standing. The court concluded that it was. Continue Reading