The District of Arizona recently granted a Spokeo motion filed by CenturyLink, holding that plaintiff Lydia Bultemeyer lacked standing to bring a purported class action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In her suit, Bultemeyer alleged that CenturyLink violated the FCRA when it accessed her credit report when she visited the company’s website to see if she could get a better price for internet services. She alleged that as part of CenturyLink’s ordering process in place at the time, the company ran her credit report. Bultemeyer also alleged that because she ultimately did not place an order, the accessing of her consumer report violated the FCRA. The District Court held that Bultemeyer lacked standing because she failed to identify the concrete harm required by Spokeo.
The Court found that the allegation that CenturyLink “violated a statutory procedure by accessing [Bultemeyer’s] credit report without a permissible purpose” failed to “make a factual showing of perceptible harm.” The Court noted that, characterizing the harm as procedural or substantive would not resolve the issue because the violation still must be accompanied by an injury in fact. The Court also rejected Bultemeyer’s claim of a privacy violation, saying that CenturyLink did not do anything with her information that would have harmed her.
The Court’s ruling found the standing issue to be dispositive. As a result, the parties’ motions for summary judgment were not decided on the merits. CenturyLink moved for summary judgment on the ground that Bultemeyer initiated a business transaction with CenturyLink which gave it a permissible purpose to obtain her consumer report. Bultemeyer responded with her own summary judgment motion, arguing that she obtained admissions from the company that it lacked a permissible purpose to obtain her consumer report.
Bultemeyer has moved for reconsideration, and briefing will be complete by March 10.
A copy of the opinion is available here.