In yet another appellate court decision signaling the strength of the United States Supreme Court’s 2016 Spokeo decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a pair of putative class actions against Time Warner Cable, Inc. (“TWC”) and Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation (“Great Lakes”) alleging Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) violations because plaintiff job applicant failed to plead an injury sufficient to establish Article III federal standing post-Spokeo.
Plaintiff Cory Groshek (“Plaintiff”) filed the pair of suits alleging that TWC and Great Lakes violated the FCRA by requesting consumer credit reports on him as part of the job application process without complying with 15 U.S.C. section 1681b(b)(2)(A). That provision bars prospective employers such as TWC and Great Lakes from obtaining consumer reports for employment purposes unless (a) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the job applicant at any time before the report is procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes (commonly known as the “stand-alone disclosure requirement”); and (b) the job applicant has authorized in writing the procurement of the report. According to Plaintiff, TWC and Great Lakes did not provide clear and conspicuous disclosures, and as a result, the authorization he provided permitting the companies to obtain consumer reports was invalid.
The trial court agreed with TWC and Great Lakes’ arguments that Plaintiff had not suffered a concrete injury over Plaintiff’s claims that he suffered concrete informational and privacy harms. In light of Spokeo, the Seventh Circuit analyzed whether “the common law permitted suit in analogous circumstances,” and whether the alleged statutory violation presented an “appreciable risk of harm” to the concrete interest Congress sought to protect via statute. In a concise opinion, the Seventh Circuit found that Plaintiff’s claims did not confer Constitutional standing to bring suit in federal court based on either analysis.