No Harm No Foul: The US Supreme Court Rules Plaintiffs Must Show Actual Harm

    View Authors May 2016

    The US Supreme Court ruled 6-2 on May 16, 2016 in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339, that a plaintiff must allege “concrete” and “actual” harm in order to sue in federal court, and that “alleging a bare procedural violation” of a statute is not sufficient to confer Article III standing where the alleged violation will “result in no harm” to the plaintiff. The ruling could narrow the field of plaintiffs able to sue under laws that provide for statutory damages with no requirement of actual injury, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), or state consumer protection statutes.