Supreme Court Will Allow U.S. to Participate in Spokeo Oral Argument

On September 8, the United States Solicitor General requested leave from the U.S. Supreme Court to participate in oral argument in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, as amicus curiae. The Supreme Court granted the United States’ request and will now allow the U.S. to chime in on a threshold constitutional standing issue at oral argument. Argument is scheduled for November 2.

The Consumer Financial Services Law Monitor has coveredSpokeo significantly since the case’s inception. In Spokeo, the Supreme Court will address the issue of whether Congress may confer Article III standing by simply authorizing a private right of action based on the violation of a federal statute alone, despite a plaintiff having suffered no concrete harm. A decision in the defendant’s favor in Spokeo could significantly alter the landscape of “no harm” federal statutory litigation, including many consumer class action lawsuits. Given the importance of Spokeo, more than thirty amicus briefs have been filed in support of both Spokeo, Inc. and Robins.

Because of the importance of Spokeo, a number of courts have recently granted stays of litigation pending the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision. This includes at least ten district court decisions granting Spokeo-based stays through October 13. Perhaps more significantly, on October 19, the Fourth Circuit also granted a Spokeo-based stay. This is one of the first stays based on Spokeo from a Court of Appeals and signals an increasing acceptance of the potential impact of Spokeo nationwide.

Troutman Sanders will continue to track Spokeo-related developments through oral argument and the Court’s decision.