In May, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision which will decrease the
number of claims consumers can make under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
(FDCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and various other
federal statutes. In the case of Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, the court held
that a consumer needs proof of a concrete injury in order to sustain a lawsuit.
The case involved Spokeo, Inc., which runs a website that compiles biographical
information on the general public. Thomas Robins sued Spokeo for violating
the Fair Credit Reporting Act by listing his marital status, job status,
age, and educational background incorrectly on the site.
Spokeo defended itself by arguing that Robins did not have standing to
sue because he had not suffered any actual harm as a result of the inaccuracies.
The district court in the case agreed with Spokeo and dismissed the case.
However, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, and found that
Robins had alleged a specific injury by claiming that the incorrect search
results had harmed him in his job search.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, finding that Robins had not alleged
a concrete injury in fact and thus had no standing to sue. The Court held
that Robins could not allege a bare procedural violation without an injury
that caused actual harm. The court stated that not all inaccuracies cause
harm or risk causing harm—for instance, the wrong zip code on one
website would not be actual unless there was evidence that the error caused
some type of injury. While the company had violated the
As a result of the case, consumers will not be able to file lawsuits based
only on statutory violations. Instead, they will need to be able to prove
that they were harmed in some way as a result of the statutory violation.
While the ruling will cut down on frivolous lawsuits, it may also ultimately
harm consumers. When a person files a lawsuit based on a statutory violation,
the company is still held responsible for illegal practices. The threat
of these lawsuits give companies the motivation to follow the law, whereas
now, a person will actually have to suffer harm before the company can
be held responsible.
If you were harmed by a debt collector’s actions, you still have
the right to file a lawsuit seeking damages. At Loan Lawyers, our attorneys
can review your creditors’ claims and help you put a stop to debt
collection harassment. To schedule your free consultation, call (888)
FIGHT-13 (344-4813) today.