A recent argument and non-decision at the Supreme Court could have significant effects on plaintiffs’ lawsuits under consumer data protection and privacy laws. Last week, the Court heard arguments on the standard of harm for establishing standing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and declined to review a Driver’s Privacy Protection Act case in which the harm to the potential class was uncertain.
The cases, Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, et al. and Senne v. Palatine, Illinois, interpret actual or potential harm as a requirement for standing in actions brought under laws that protect consumers’ personal information. While the justices appeared divided on whether Spokeo’s publication of false consumer information online constituted injury sufficient to allow a plaintiff to sue under FCRA, the Court’s denial of the plaintiff’s appeal in Palatine let stand the Seventh Circuit’s decision that the benefits of including personal information on parking tickets should be balanced against the “negligible harm” of disclosing the information. The law that results in Spokeo and the new Seventh Circuit interpretation of the DPPA have the potential to make it more difficult for plaintiffs to get their privacy law cases into court.
Continue Reading Spokeo, Palatine Cases Discuss Negligible Harm from Privacy Breaches, Could Put Damper on Suits