On April 8, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied defendant TransUnion’s petition for a panel rehearing and petition for a rehearing en banc in Ramirez v. TransUnion LLC, a case that has been monitored closely by credit reporting agencies.
The Ninth Circuit’s February decision in Ramirez represented a notable application of post-Spokeo standing doctrine. Among other findings, the Ninth Circuit panel in Ramirez found that over 8,000 class members possessed Article III standing to sue pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681e(b) and 1681g of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The underlying case involved a product offered by TransUnion to identify consumers with names designated by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Assets Control (“OFAC”) as posing a national security threat (i.e., terrorists, drug traffickers). The product applied a warning label on reports of consumers whose names matched those on the OFAC list. Class members argued at trial that TransUnion failed to follow reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of the warning due to the name-only search used to establish matches. They further argued that TransUnion failed to comply with certain disclosure requirements under the FCRA. The jury found in favor of the class members on all claims. Despite arguments on appeal that class members did not suffer concrete injuries under the statute sufficient to confer standing, the three-judge panel found otherwise due to the extreme nature of the information reported. Read our complete recap of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Ramirez here.
In its petition for rehearing filed on March 12, TransUnion first argued that the Ninth Circuit’s standing analysis was flawed. TransUnion reiterated its argument that Sergio L. Ramirez failed to show that any class member suffered a concrete injury sufficient to confer Article III standing. TransUnion also argued that, even assuming that class members had standing, Ramirez failed to satisfy Rule 23’s typicality requirement due to the nature of his experience. Finally, while TransUnion acknowledged its agreement that the jury’s punitive damages award was unconstitutionally excessive, it argued that the Ninth Circuit’s reduction of the award to a 4:1 punitive-damages-to-statutory-damages ratio still rendered the award impermissibly excessive under precedent set by the Supreme Court of the United States.
On April 14, after the denial of the petitions for rehearing, the parties filed a joint motion to stay the issuance of the Ninth Circuit’s mandate for 90 days, pending TransUnion’s filing of a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit granted the motion the following day.
We will continue to monitor the status of TransUnion’s further appeal to the Supreme Court and provide additional updates as they become available.