The 11th Circuit reversed the district court (and magistrate judge’s recommendation) and held – at least for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – that the mere alleged statutory violation itself is a “concrete injury” akin to the traditional harm of publishing defamatory information.
Courts, litigants, and businesses have been struggling to properly understand Article III standing in the wake of the landmark 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision Spokeo, followed by TransUnion in 2020. This has been especially true in the 11th Circuit, where district courts have reached differing conclusions on standing – and “injury in fact”/damages – in the context of evaluating statutory-based class actions.
However, in a closely-watched decision, the 11th Circuit recently clarified Article III standing for class representatives pursuing statutory claims inSantos v. Experian Information Solutions. In a per curiam opinion, the 11th Circuit reversed the district court (and magistrate judge’s recommendation) and held – at least for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – that the mere alleged statutory violation itself is a “concrete injury” akin here to the traditional harm of publishing defamatory information:
“The consumer need not prove 'that the false reporting caused his credit score to plummet; the false reporting itself [i]s the injury.' Losch v. Nationstar Mortg. LLC, 995 F.3d 937, 943 (11th Cir. 2021). Because the record contains evidence that Experian inaccurately reported to creditors that Mr. Santos’s and Ms. Clements’s accounts entered collections more recently than they did, the plaintiffs have standing.”
It will be interesting to see how district courts interpret and apply this reasoning, not just in FCRA cases but in other statutory-based class actions as well. We will be closely monitoring this fast-changing legal landscape and updating our readers on future developments.
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