In the case of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (May, 2016), (click here), the Supreme Court of the United States vacated a decision by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit for reconsideration. The issue was whether Robins had “standing” under Article III of the Constitution to file a private lawsuit for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “FCRA”). If a plaintiff does not have standing, a federal court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case and must dismiss the lawsuit. The Court held that the Ninth Circuit had failed to fully analyze every element that must be met in order for a plaintiff to have Article III standing Spokeo operates an online “people search engine”, which searches multiple public databases to gather and provide personal information about individuals to users, including prospective employers, who search an individual’s name. Robins discovered that Spokeo had published false information about him in response to a search by an unknown user. Robins sued Spokeo, alleging that the company violated the FCRA when it published false information about him. Robins, unemployed at the time of the suit, claimed that the incorrect information published by Spokeo harmed his employment prospects.

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