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November 3, 2015

SCOTUS Appears ‘Closely Divided’ in Spokeo Case

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday “appeared closely divided” as it heard Spokeo, Inc v Robins, in which the court will consider whether an individual (Mr. Robins) could sue an online information aggregator (Spokeo) for allegedly publishing incorrect information about him.

“The legal issue before the nine justices was whether a plaintiff can sue for a technical violation of a federal consumer law even when there is a question about whether the person has been directly harmed,” writes Reuters‘ Lawrence Hurley.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Brent Kendall noted that the “court’s conservatives, led by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia, expressed concern Congress was effectively giving private citizens the roving power to enforce U.S. law, no matter whether they suffered the kind of harm usually required to get into court.”

Upon being told by the plaintiffs’ attorney that there was no indication in the case record that anyone actually searched for Mr. Robins’ information on the Spokeo website, Justice Samuel Alito responded, “Then isn’t that quintessential speculative harm?”

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