On September 10, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Long v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ruled that a group of plaintiffs lacked standing to assert claims brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act relating to the defendant’s failure to provide statutorily-required information about their basic FCRA rights. The plaintiffs in Long alleged that SEPTA violated the FCRA’s pre-adverse action notice provision by terminating their employment without first providing them with (i) a copy of their background reports, and (ii) information about their rights under the FCRA.
Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Third Circuit held that the plaintiffs had standing for the first alleged violation because they had a right to see the background reports before any adverse action was taken against them, despite not alleging any actual inaccuracies in their reports.
However, the court ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing for the second alleged violation –their failure to receive information about their basic FCRA rights – which the court deemed a “bare procedural violation, divorced from any concrete harm.” In so ruling, the Third Circuit noted that the plaintiffs were able to learn about their rights under the FCRA and were able to file their lawsuit within the FCRA’s two-year statute of limitations regardless of any disclosure failure on SEPTA’s part.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor these developments and provide any further updates as they are available.