Thursday, July 1, 2021

Supreme Court Takes a Bite Out of Bogus Class Actions; Supreme Court Reshapes Congress’ Power to Allow Lawsuits, and related stories

Yuri Gripas/Reuters
Supreme Court Takes a Bite Out of Bogus Class Actions:
Class-action lawsuits can no longer include people who suffered no harm
For the second time this week, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on big-money class actions against businesses, and this one is an even clearer win for business defendants. But today’s decision leaves one very big question still unanswered. The Court’s 5–4 decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, in an opinion written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, ruled that people who suffered no injury cannot be members of a class action in federal court. That may sound like an obvious, commonsense position, but it matters a lot to current class-action practice. What the Court did not decide is when exactly a court hearing a class action is supposed to remove the unharmed class members from the case.
Where Is the Harm?
Lawyer-driven contingency-fee class actions can seem especially flimsy when a bunch of the people represented by class-action lawyers did not even suffer any harm. That also raises legal questions, both Article III standing issues (i.e., if you don’t have an injury and couldn’t sue on your own, how can your case be part of a class?) and the class-action rule (i.e., if you have no injury, how is your case similar to those of people who do?).
To bring a lawsuit in federal court, you need standing to sue — a concrete “injury in fact” that is both fairly traceable to the conduct of the defendant and redressable by court-ordered relief (usually money damages or an injunction). No harm, no standing, and thus no federal jurisdiction. This derives from Article III of the Constitution, which limits federal courts to hearing “Cases or Controversies” rather than abstract questions of law. State courts have their own rules. Standing issues have traditionally been most actively litigated in lawsuits challenging government policy, but they have become an increasing battleground in class actions against businesses as well. --->READ MORE HERE
Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Supreme Court reshapes Congress’ power to allow lawsuits:
In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas writes that the court 'has relieved the legislature of its power to create and define rights'
A Supreme Court decision Friday about a class-action lawsuit against credit reporting agency TransUnion limits Congress’s power to determine who can file a federal lawsuit — by shifting more of that decision to the judicial branch.
The case centers on the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, which created a way for consumers to file a lawsuit to recover damages for certain violations of law, in part to protect consumer privacy. The majority ruled, in a sharply divided 5-4 opinion, that some of the plaintiffs did not have the right to file the lawsuit.
In doing so, the majority delves into separation-of-powers issues between the three branches of government. And the court concludes that Congress can give people the right to file a lawsuit over violations of law, but ultimately the federal courts have the power to say whether those people can file those lawsuits.
“Congress may enact legal prohibitions and obligations. And Congress may create causes of action for plaintiffs to sue defendants who violate those legal prohibitions or obligations,” Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote. “But under Article III, an injury in law is not an injury in fact. Only those plaintiffs who have been concretely harmed by a defendant’s statutory violation may sue that private defendant over that violation in federal court.” --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to related stories:

Supreme Court Reduces Scope of Class Action Against Credit Firm That Falsely Implicated People as on Terrorist Watch List

Supreme Court Pares Back Class-Action Suits

U.S. Supreme Court curbs TransUnion 'terrorist list' lawsuit

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