You may remember back to our
previous blog where we discussed what is at stake in the case of
Spokeo v. Robins, a case tackling the question of boundaries between rights to public information
and personal privacy. The Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in this
case on Monday, November 2.
As a reminder, the plaintiff’s case against the “people search”
website alleged that incorrect information posted by the company was both
a threat to his job prospects and a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting
Act (FCRA). Robins’ case was originally thrown out in court because
there was no evidence that the information Spokeo reported actually hurt
him (the damages in this case are purely hypothetical in nature). Still,
an appeals court revived his case, and now the question is whether the
Supreme Court will allow the case to proceed at all.
Spokeo operates by collecting information from a wide range of public sources,
including phone books, social networks, and real estate listings, and
compiling the information in their searchable database. The problem is
that there is no guarantee that any of the information is accurate. In
Robins’ case, Spokeo incorrectly reported that he is in his fifties,
that he has children, and that he possesses a graduate degree, none of
which is accurate. Under the provisions of the FCRA, he is seeking compensation
for each violation of the statute on behalf of a class potentially involving
millions of people. If the case is allowed to continue, Spokeo is concerned
that this would open the door to an abundance of “frivolous”
lawsuits involving plaintiffs who have not actually been harmed.
A ruling in favor of Spokeo could mean that future lawsuits of this kind
will no longer be possible, nor will a host of other equally important
civil rights lawsuits.
People would no longer have any rights or control over the use of their
We at Sulaiman Law Group, LTD fervently hope that the Supreme Court rules
by upholding the appellate court.
To hear the full audio of the oral arguments heard last week by SCOTUS, please