On November 2, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. Robins sued website operator Spokeo, Inc. under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, complaining that Spokeo had published inaccurate personal information about Robins. The district court determined that Robins had failed to allege an injury-in-fact and dismissed the case for lack of standing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed, concluding that Spokeo’s alleged violations of Robins’ statutory rights constituted sufficient injury, and that Robins satisfied the other requirements for Article III standing.
The question Spokeo raises before the Supreme Court is 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.
To discuss the case, we have Erin Hawley, who is Associate Professor of Law at University of Missouri School of Law.