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SCOTUS Throws Out Ninth Circuit Decision in Spokeo v. Robins


The Supreme Court recently threw out the decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court in the case of Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, which held that a plaintiff does not have a legal right to sue simply by alleging bare, technical violations of statute. On Monday, May 16, 2016, SCOTUS ruled 6-2 in favor of the business community, including the collection and credit industry. As you may recall from our previous blogs, the key issue in the Spokeo case was whether a violation of federal law, without proving concrete harm, is enough to warrant a lawsuit.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Ninth Circuit to re-review the case, having determined that their analysis was incomplete because it only focused on how the statutory violation personally affected the plaintiff rather than on whether the violation caused any concrete harm. Robins had argued that the incorrect information contained in his Spokeo listing harmed his job prospects and directly violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which was created to ensure that the information companies report on people is accurate. The case was originally dismissed in district court because there was no proof of actual harm – in fact, most of the errors reported by Spokeo were considered favorable to the plaintiff.

The Courts’ consideration of this matter directly affects federal laws including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Furthermore, inconsistency in the application of these laws has also subjected the credit and collection industry to liability.

For more information on the case of Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, click below to view our blogs:

Contact Atlas Consumer Law for more information on your rights under the FCRA, TCPA, and FDCPA.