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Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins

Supreme Court of the United States

November 2, 2015, Argued; May 16, 2016, Decided

No. 13-1339

Opinion

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the question whether respondent Robins has standing to maintain an action in federal court against petitioner Spokeo under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA or Act), 84 Stat. 1127, as amended, 15 U. S. C. §1681 et seq.

Spokeo operates a “people search engine.” If an individual visits Spokeo’s Web site and inputs a person’s name, a phone number, or an e-mail address, Spokeo conducts a computerized search in a wide variety of databases and provides information [***5]  about the subject of the search. Spokeo performed such a search for information about Robins, and some of the information it gathered and then disseminated was incorrect. When Robins learned of these inaccuracies, he filed a complaint on his own behalf and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals.

The District Court dismissed Robins’ complaint for lack of standing, but a panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed. The Ninth Circuit noted, first, that Robins had alleged that “Spokeo violated his statutory rights, not just the statutory rights of other people,” and, second, that “Robins’s personal interests in the handling of his credit information are individualized rather than collective.” 742 F. 3d 409, 413 (2014). Based on these two observations, the  [*1545]  Ninth Circuit held that Robins had adequately alleged injury in fact, a requirement for standing under Article III of the Constitution. Id., at 413-414.

This analysis was incomplete. As we have explained in our prior opinions, the injury-in-fact requirement requires a plaintiff to allege an injury that is both “concrete and particularized.” Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services (TOC), Inc., 528 U. S. 167, 180-181, 120 S. Ct. 693, 145 L. Ed. 2d 610 (2000) (emphasis added). The Ninth Circuit’s analysis focused on the second characteristic (particularity), but it overlooked the first (concreteness). We therefore [***6]  vacate the decision below and remand for the Ninth Circuit to consider both aspects of the injury-in-fact requirement.

 [**641]  I

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136 S. Ct. 1540 *; 194 L. Ed. 2d 635 **; 2016 U.S. LEXIS 3046 ***; 84 U.S.L.W. 4263; 100 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,556; 26 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 128

SPOKEO, INC., Petitioner v. THOMAS ROBINS

Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.

Subsequent History: As Revised May 24, 2016.

On remand at, Motion granted by, in part, Motion denied by, in part Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22052 (9th Cir. Cal., June 20, 2016)

Decision reached on appeal by, On remand at, Remanded by Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15211 (9th Cir., Aug. 15, 2017)

Prior History:  [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., 742 F.3d 409, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 2136 (9th Cir. Cal., Feb. 4, 2014)

Disposition: Vacated and remanded.

CORE TERMS

concrete, consumer, injury in fact, rights, particularized, vindicate, courts, private right, private plaintiff, public right, consumer report, statutory right, injury-in-fact, limitations, cases, consumer reporting agency, quotation, injuries, marks, standing doctrine, legal right, Common-law, incorrect, procedural violation, reasonable procedure, credit reporting, standing to sue, judicial power, federal court, individualized

Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Injury in Fact, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Elements, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Congressional Duties & Powers, The Presidency, The Judiciary, Burdens of Proof, Standing, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Class Actions, Class Members, Named Members