Spokeo Tries Again to Get SCOTUS Clarity on Standing

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By Perry Cooper

Online aggregator Spokeo.com asked the U.S. Supreme Court Dec. 4 to take another look at whether the allegedly inaccurate information it posted about Thomas Robins caused a real enough harm to allow him to sue.

The Supreme Court held in May that the appeals court wasn’t thorough enough on the first go-round in analyzing whether the plaintiff’s injury was concrete as well as particular to him.

On second look, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the information created a sufficiently concrete injury to sue.

Federal courts continue to struggle with how to interpret the Supreme Court’s holding that plaintiffs must allege a harm that is “actual or imminent” rather than speculative.

Spokeo tells the court in its petition for review that the Ninth Circuit held that the alleged inaccuracies “ could harm someone like the plaintiff.” But the harm must be “to the plaintiff” to give him standing to sue, Spokeo says.

The high court should hear the case again to resolve the subsequent division among circuit courts over whether an intangible harm can be a concrete injury, the company says.

Spokeo.com aggregates personal information about individuals from around the web. Robins filed a class action against the company alleging it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, by posting inaccurate information about him.

Mayer Brown represents Spokeo.

The case is Spokeo Inc. v. Robins , U.S., docket number not yet available, petition for review filed 12/4/17 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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