Frank v. Gaos

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: March 20, 2019
  • Case #: 17-961
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam
  • Full Text Opinion

Spokeo v. Robins, 578 U.S. ___ (2016), establishes that Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.

Respondent brought suit in challenge of Google's use of referrer headers, which told Google’s servers what words led users to arrive at certain webpages. Respondent argued that transmitting users’ search terms violates the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §2701 et seq., which prohibits an entity that provides an electronic communication service from knowingly divulging the content of a communication stored by that service. Google moved to dismiss for lack of standing. The district court granted the motion, holding that Respondent failed to plead sufficient facts to establish a claim. Respondent filed an amended complaint and Google again moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion on other grounds but denied with regard to SCA claim because First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards, 564 U. S. 1018 (2011), states that a statutory right automatically satisfies the injury-in-fact requirement for standing. Google then negotiated a settlement which distributed settlement funds to nonprofit or cy pres recipients, whose work was determined to indirectly benefit class members. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether a class action settlement that provides a cy pres award without direct relief satisfies a requirement that a settlement which binds class members be fair and reasonable. In Spokeo v. Robins, 578 U.S. ___ (2016), the Supreme Court abrogated Edwards holding that “Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.” The Supreme Court held that the case should be remanded to the courts below to address Respondent’s standing in light of this court’s holding in Spokeo. VACATED and REMANDED.

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