Understanding Standing After 'Spokeo v. Robins'

, The Legal Intelligencer


One of the most basic elements of federal-court practice is that a plaintiff must have constitutional "standing" to maintain a suit in federal court. In the closely watched case, Spokeo v. Robins, 578 U.S. No. 11-56843 (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with a frequently recurring issue—whether the mere violation of a statute itself constitutes an "injury in fact"—the "first and foremost" of the three standing requirements. "Injury in fact" is one of those legal concepts that makes intuitive sense—you have to be actually harmed before you can sue. But it can create confusion when you try to apply it to a particular case, as evidenced by the conflicting lower-court rulings that prompted the court to grant review in Spokeo.

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