A credit reporting agency has filed its brief with the Supreme Court as it seeks to have a class of plaintiffs decertified in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case that will answer the question of whether every member of a class must have Article III standing in order to recover damages, which could significantly impact the future of class actions across the country.
A copy of the brief in the case of TransUnion v. Ramirez can be accessed by clicking here. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case on March 30.
TransUnion was sued by Sergio Ramirez for not verifying the names of individuals who had alerts added to their credit reports that indicated they may be on a terrorist watch list. Ramirez went to a car dealership to buy a car, but his credit application was flagged for matching two names that were on the watch list.
Ramirez alleged that TransUnion violated the FCRA, and a District Court judge certified a class of individuals who had similar experiences. Ultimately, a jury awarded $60 million to the class members, a number that was reduced to $40 million when TransUnion appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit, however, took the unusual step of noting that every class member needed to have Article III standing at the damages phase of the suit. TransUnion appealed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
“None of the abstract and inchoate injuries asserted on behalf of the absent class members here begins to satisfy,” the requirements under Spokeo that an injury be “concrete and particularized” in order for a plaintiff to have standing to sue, TransUnion argued. “A plaintiff who suffered public humiliation and canceled a vacation is not remotely typical of a class of individuals who received information about their own credit files in the privacy of their homes (and may have been briefly confounded by receiving information in two envelopes, if they even opened them).”