The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision today in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, a crucial case about the ability of people to bring personal privacy cases in federal court. The Court, in a controversial 5-4 decision authored by Justice Kavanaugh, held that proof of “concrete harm” is needed to develop standing to take legal action against under Article III of the U.S. Constitution. The jury in this case found that TransUnion had actually willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it falsely flagged the credit reports of countless people for being “Specially Designated Nationals” under the Workplace of Foreign Asset Controls list that consists of terrorists, drug trafficers, and other approved individuals. The Supreme Court held that the group of people who could prove that these false credit reports had actually been disclosed to 3rd parties had standing to sue, but the group who did not offer evidence that their reports had been revealed did not fulfill the burden under Article III.
This choice will have considerable implications for people looking for redress in federal court for privacy infractions that do not include the improper disclosure of personal info. LEGENDARY filed an amicus quick in TransUnion, advising the Court to hold that individuals can sue when their personal privacy rights are violated, despite whether they declare that the offense resulted in other damages. Justice Thomas, joined by 3 other members of the Court, concurred and would have ruled that standing exists in any case brought by a private to vindicate an infraction of their private rights. LEGENDARY’s Executive Director, Alan Butler, said that “the Supreme Court’s decision in TransUnion does not close the door on all personal privacy claims, but it certainly makes it harder for people to look for redress in privacy cases that don’t involve inappropriate disclosure of details.” IMPRESSIVE previously submitted an amicus briefs on this issue with the Supreme Court in Spokeo v. Robbins and regularly files amicus briefs in cases interpreting standing under a range of personal privacy laws.