Amy Howe writes:
Nearly four years ago, the Court heard oral arguments in a case involving the constitutionality of a provision of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act that allows homeowners to sue banks and title companies that pay kickbacks for the closing of a mortgage loan, even if the homeowners were not hurt because the kickbacks do not affect the prices that the homeowners pay for the loans or the quality of the services that they receive. The Justices would dismiss that case, First American Financial v. Edwards, seven months later, without either a ruling on the merits or any explanation for the dismissal. In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the case of a Virginia man who alleges that the Internet “people search engine” published inaccurate information about him, the Justices had before them a similar question as in First American: does the mere fact that Spokeo violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, without more, give Thomas Robins a legal right – known as “standing” – to sue? Today’s oral arguments in the case gave a glimpse into how the Justices may have been stymied by First American, and how they are likely to be closely divided on whatever decision they eventually reach.
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