On May 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. It held that a plaintiff must allege “concrete” and particular harm in order to have standing to bring a suit in the US federal court. The Court ruled that the fact that a statute may provide for statutory damages for violations is not, by itself, sufficient to confer standing on a plaintiff. While this case arose under the US Fair Credit Reporting Act, it will be relevant to class actions asserting violations of privacy laws and other consumer protection laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). Many of these laws provide for statutory damages for violations, but do not specify that a plaintiff must have suffered actual harm as a result of the violation. Following this decision, plaintiffs will be required to allege and then demonstrate that they suffered specific harm as a result of the violation of the law; it will no longer be enough to merely assert that the law itself was violated.

The opinion