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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Consumers Need "Concrete" Injuries To Support a TCPA Lawsuit

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.