In the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Court held that a bare procedural violation of a federal consumer protection statute is not enough to satisfy Article III’s standing requirement because the alleged injury is not sufficiently concrete. This decision resulted in a sizeable circuit split regarding standing under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, with some circuit courts interpreting the holding as narrowing the scope of standing for consumer protection claims, and others maintaining a broader interpretation, allowing plaintiffs to obtain redress for violations of consumer financial protections laws.
In its 2021 ruling in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, the U.S. Supreme Court attempted to clarify Spokeo, holding that if a plaintiff does not suffer a real harm and a risk of future harm does not materialize, then there is no concrete harm to confer standing. TransUnion shifted the circuit split, still resulting in inconsistencies among the courts but making it even harder for plaintiffs to assert consumer financial protection claims in federal courts. This Note explores TransUnion’s impact on consumer financial protection claims, with a focus on the evolution of the circuit split regarding standing under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and argues that the U.S. Supreme Court wrongly decided TransUnion. A broader approach giving deference to Congress would be more in line with Article III, Spokeo, and Congress’s role as a factfinder, and it would ensure judicial consistency and provide for better representation of modern issues posing harm, or a real risk of harm, to American consumers.
de Groot, Annefloor J.
"No [Concrete] Harm, No Foul? Article III Standing in the Context of Consumer Financial Protection,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 56:
2, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol56/iss2/7