- Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is debating what to do with a class action lawsuit against Spokeo Inc., a people search website.
- A California citizen filed the suit on behalf of himself and a potential class under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires consumer reporting agencies to provide correct information.
- The case is being closely watched by Silicon Valley companies that face similar claims. The debate centers around whether or not providing incorrect information causes direct harm to citizens.
The citizen was unemployed when he sued in 2010 and claimed his Spokeo entry contained inaccurate information and therefore damaged his job-seeking prospects.
If the court finds that the lawsuit cannot proceed, it could stop a recent wave of class action cases against online companies. Facebook, Google and Yahoo have all faced similar lawsuits over violations of different federal laws.
If similar cases are allowed to proceed against other companies, any user of their services who alleges a legal violation based only on a technical violation of a federal statute could "pursue a multi-billion dollar statutory damages claim despite the lack of injury," the brief said.
"We think this case presents the opportunity ... to close the door on non-injury class actions," said Jason Matthes, Spokeo's general counsel.
Google, Facebook, eBay and Yahoo all filed court papers backing Spokeo.