Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms Requirement that Plaintiff Suffer Concrete Injury from Alleged Statutory Violation

Term: 2015 Term
Oral Argument Date: Nov 2, 2015
Vote: 6-2
Opinion: Alito
Questions Presented: 

Whether Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.

U.S. Chamber's Position: 

In its brief, the U.S. Chamber filed in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Spokeo’s challenge to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that alleged violations of a plaintiff’s statutory rights alone, without any underlying injury, are sufficient to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement of Article III. The Chamber argued that allowing standing to be based solely on a technical statutory violation that could be identical for a large swath of potential plaintiffs would render meaningless the traditional class-certification requirements of commonality and predominance, which would in turn invite class action abuse.

The Chamber also supported certiorari in the case, in a brief that can be found here

The International Association of Defense Counsel filed both briefs jointly with the Chamber.

Roy T. Englert, Jr., Ariel N. Lavinbuk, Eric A. White of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner and Sauber LLP and Mary-Christine Sungaila of Snell and Wilmer LLP represented the U.S. Chamber as co-counsel to the National Chamber Litigation Center in this case.

Outcome Content: 

The Supreme Court issued a 6-2 decision reaffirming that a plaintiff alleging the denial of a statutory right only has standing to sue if he shows that the alleged legal violation caused him a “concrete” injury in fact—alleging a mere technical statutory violation is not sufficient.

Justices in Minority: 
Procedural History: 

Cert. petition filed 5/1/2014. U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed 6/5/2014. Amicus brief for the United States filed 3/13/2015.

Cert. granted 4/27/2015. U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed on the merits 7/9/2015.

Argued 11/2/2015.

Decided 5/16/2016.