In one of its final decisions of the term, the United States Supreme Court issued one of the most significant class-action decisions in recent years. The decision tightened the requirements for showing standing in class action lawsuits and has the potential to significantly affect class action litigation. Building on its 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Supreme Court held that, to recover damages in a class action, every class member must satisfy the standing requirement of Article III, at least when the requested relief involves recovery of money damages.
The plaintiff in the case, Sergio Ramirez, obtained a credit report from TransUnion in the course of purchasing a car, as countless consumers do each year. Ramirez’s credit report stated that his name was a possible match for a name on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) watch list, a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries that typically contains the names of known terrorists, drug traffickers, and other individuals prohibited from conducting business in the U.S. for national security reasons.
Because of this alert on his credit report, the car dealership refused to sell Ramirez a vehicle. When he contacted TransUnion and requested a copy of his credit file, TransUnion first sent him his credit file and the statutorily required summary of rights. This first set of documents omitted any mention of the OFAC alert. TransUnion then sent Ramirez a second mailing, which included the OFAC alert but did not include the required summary of rights.
Based on these events, Ramirez filed suit alleging three violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). First, he alleged that TransUnion did not implement and follow “reasonable procedures” to ensure the accuracy of his credit file. Second, he claimed that TransUnion violated the FCRA by failing to provide him with all the FCRA-required information in his credit file in connection with the first mailing he received which did not mention the OFAC alert. Finally, he alleged that TransUnion failed to provide him with the required summary of his rights “with each written disclosure” because the second mailing he received from TransUnion did not include a summary of his rights. Ramirez filed the case as a class action seeking to represent a class of similarly situated individuals. Continue reading ›