Small Business Reacts to SCOTUS Ruling that Reins in Speculative Lawsuits

Date: May 16, 2016

Contact: Kelly Klass 
609-713-4243 or 

NFIB filed a brief in SCOTUS case 

Washington, D.C. (May 16, 2016) – Small businesses are less likely to be dragged into federal lawsuits claiming theoretical, rather than actual, injuries, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.  

“Plaintiffs who can prove actual injuries are entitled to their day in court and should be compensated,” said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned.  “Plaintiffs whose claims are more theory than fact should never make it to federal court.  The Supreme Court today tightened the standard and that is a relief to small business owners who are often the target of these lawsuits.” 

At issue in the case of Spokeo v. Robins was whether the plaintiff could sue under federal jurisdiction on the grounds of a speculative injury. In this case, the plaintiff claimed that Spokeo, a people-search website site, listed inaccurate information about his age, marital status, education, and professional experience.  That, he argued, impeded his ability to get a job, a claim that he did not substantiate.  NFIB last year filed a brief in support of Spokeo. 

The Supreme Court today ruled that the plaintiff must prove that an alleged injury is both “concrete and particularized.” The Court said that Robins failed to prove that his injury was concrete.  

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