June 25, 2021

TransUnion, LLC v. Ramirez – Supreme Court Decision of Importance

Today the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in TransUnion, LLC v. Ramirez holding in a 5-4 decision that only persons who suffer a concrete harm from a statutory violation have standing to sue in a federal court or be a member of a class in a federal class action. Justice Kavanaugh wrote the decision for the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Barrett. Justice Thomas wrote a dissent joined by Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

A key takeaway is that an improper Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) disclosure, alone, will not confer standing and “the risk of future harm on its own does not support Article III standing for the plaintiffs’ damages claim.”

As for class allegations, the Court held that standing must also be demonstrated for each class member.

The decision adopts the rigorous standing analysis of the 11th Circuit in Trichell and the 7th Circuit in Casillas which held standing cannot be conferred from “informational” injuries, such as a failed Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) disclosure. As a result, many existing FDCPA and FCRA claims now pending in federal court are subject to dismissal and it will reduce the filing of new claims in federal court.

At the same time, FDCPA and FCRA claims can be brought in state courts. Not all states have standing requirements that align with federal law – some states have a very low threshold for standing. This means that FDCPA and FCRA cases will be brought in certain state courts to avoid the federal standing analysis.