Law School Case Brief
Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Grp., LLC - 794 F.3d 688 (7th Cir. 2015)
The appellate court reviews a district court's dismissal for lack of Article III standing de novo. Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), the district court must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint, drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor, unless standing is challenged as a factual matter. The plaintiffs, as the parties invoking federal jurisdiction, bear the burden of establishing the required elements of standing. In order to have standing, a litigant must prove that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.
Sometime in 2013, hackers attacked Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store, and stole the credit card numbers of its customers. In December 2013, the company learned that some of its customers had found fraudulent charges on their cards. On January 10, 2014, it announced to the public that the cyberattack had occurred and that between July 16, 2013, and October 30, 2013, approximately 350,000 cards had been exposed to the hackers' malware. In the wake of those disclosures, several customers brought this action under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d), seeking various forms of relief. The district court stopped the suit in its tracks, however, ruling that both the individual plaintiffs and the class lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution. This resulted in a dismissal of the complaint without prejudice.
Did the district court err in ruling that the customers lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution?
The Court held that it was plausible to infer that the customers had shown a substantial risk of harm from the store's date breach and their allegations of future injury were sufficient to survive a Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) motion. The customers did not allege any defect in any product they purchased but instead asserted that patronizing the store inflicted injury on them, but this was not necessary to support their standing. The customers satisfied Article III's requirements based on at least some of the injuries they have identified.
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