High Court Decision Could Have Implication for ERISA Litigation

The decision was already cited in the Supreme Court's order regarding the Verizon pension risk transfer lawsuit.

By Rebecca Moore | May 26, 2016
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A U.S Supreme Court decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins could have implications for Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation.

The decision was already referenced in an order by the Supreme Court remanding the Verizon pension risk transfer lawsuit back to an appellate court. And, alerts from law firms suggest the decision will impact other ERISA litigation.

The Spokeo suit applies to the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA). Spokeo, Inc., an alleged consumer reporting agency, operates a “people search engine,” which searches a wide spectrum of databases to gather and provide personal information about individuals to a variety of users, including employers wanting to evaluate prospective employees. After Thomas Robins discovered that his Spokeo-generated profile contained inaccurate information, he filed a federal class-action complaint against Spokeo, alleging that the company willfully failed to comply with the FCRA’s requirements.

A district court dismissed Robins’ complaint, holding that he had not properly pleaded injury in fact as required by Article III. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. Based on Robins’ allegation that “Spokeo violated his statutory rights” and the fact that Robins’ “personal interests in the handling of his credit information are individualized,” the court held that Robins had adequately alleged an injury in fact.

NEXT: Additional review for determining injury