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Robins v. Spokeo, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 4, 2014

THOMAS ROBINS, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SPOKEO, INC., a California corporation, Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, November 6, 2013 Pasadena, California

Petition for certiorari filed at, 05/01/2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:10-cv-05306-ODW-AGR. Otis D. Wright, II, District Judge, Presiding.

Steven Woodrow, Edelson LLC, Denver, Colorado, argued the cause for the plaintiff-appellant. Bradley M. Baglien, Edelson LLC, Chicago, Illinois, filed the briefs for the plaintiff-appellant. With him on the briefs were Jay Edelson, Edelson, LLC, Chicago, Illinois, and Rafey S. Balabanian, Edelson LLC, Chicago, Illinois.

Donald M. Falk, Mayer Brown LLP, Palo Alto, California, argued the cause for the defendant-appellee. John Nadolenco, Mayer Brown LLC, Los Angeles, California, filed the brief for defendant-appellee. With him on the brief was Barrett L. Schreiner, Mayer Brown LLP, Los Angeles, California.

Meir Feder, Jones Day, New York, New York, filed the brief on behalf of amicus curiae Experian Information Solutions, Inc in support of the defendant-appellee.

A. James Chareq, Hudson Cook, LLP, Washington, D.C., filed the brief on behalf of amicus curiae Consumer Data Industry Association in support of the defendant-appellee.

Before: Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Susan P. Graber, and Carlos T. Bea, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 410

O'SCANNLAIN, Circuit Judge.

We must decide whether an individual has Article III standing to sue a website's operator under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for publishing inaccurate personal information about himself.

I

Spokeo, Inc. operates a website that provides users with information about other individuals, including contact data, marital status, age, occupation, economic health, and wealth level. Thomas Robins sued Spokeo for willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., related to its website. Although he asserted that Spokeo's website contained false information about him, Robins's allegations of injury were sparse. Spokeo moved to dismiss Robins's original complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction on the ground that Robins lacked standing sufficient under Article III of the United States Constitution.

On January 27, 2011, the district court ruled that Robins had failed to allege an injury in fact because he had not alleged " any actual or imminent harm." The court characterized Robins's allegations as simply " that he has been unsuccessful in seeking employment, and that he is concerned that the inaccuracies in his report will affect his ability to obtain credit, employment, insurance, and the like." The ...


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