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Past Event
2 June 2016

Speakers

  • Andrew J. Pincus
    T +1 202 263 3220
Event

Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins: The Supreme Court Acts with Respect to Statutory Damages Class Actions

The U.S. Supreme Court’s May 16, 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins addressed the injury-in-fact requirement for Article III standing needed to file suit in federal court. In particular, the certiorari petition filed in the case asked whether “Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.”

The case is a private action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) against Spokeo, a people search engine that aggregates publicly available information regarding individuals from variety of sources; the information is accessible via Spokeo’s website. The named plaintiff, Mr. Robins, seeks statutory damages on behalf of himself and every individual about whom information is available from Spokeo, a class of many millions of individuals. The Ninth Circuit upheld Mr. Robins’ standing on the ground that he alleged violations of the FCRA regarding information about him.

The Supreme Court held that the injury-in-fact standard “requires a plaintiff to allege an injury that is both ‘concrete and particularized,’” and that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling upholding standing “focused on the second characteristic (particularity), but it overlooked the first (concreteness).” A concrete injury, the Court said, “must be ‘de facto’; that is, it must actually exist” and be “‘real,’ and not ‘abstract.’” It remanded the case so that the Ninth Circuit could apply these principles.

The briefing was conducted by Andrew J. Pincus of Mayer Brown LLP, who argued the case for Spokeo in the Supreme Court; and Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC, who has successfully represented consumer plaintiffs in several key cases involving Article III standing. 

Specific topics covered by this briefing will include:

  • Does the Spokeo ruling change standing analysis?
  • What is the possible impact on claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
  • What about claims under other federal statutes that have been invoked in statutory damages class actions?
  • Will the standing analysis affect class certification?

Presentation Material

  • Article III Standing—Pleading Injury-in-Fact
    Deepak Gupta, Andrew J. Pincus
  • Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Try to Spin Spokeo
    Deepak Gupta, Andrew J. Pincus
  • Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins: The Supreme Court Acts with Respect to Statutory Damages Class Actions
    Deepak Gupta, Andrew J. Pincus

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