Monthly Archives May 2016

Not quite the wrecking ball some hoped it would be, this week’s Supreme Court decision in Spokeo v. Robins created a crack just wide enough to allow a new wave of Article III standing arguments in private actions for statutory violations. As we discussed in our earlier post, Spokeo is a website that provides users with information about other individuals, including contact data, age, occupation, economic health, and wealth level.  The plaintiff, Thomas Robins, alleged willful violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because Spokeo’s website described him inaccurately—as a married 50-year-old, with children, and a high income.  None of the information was correct.  Robins alleged that the inaccurate information injured him when he searched for employment because potential employers saw him as someone who would expect a higher income and likely would be unwilling to relocate.  The district court dismissed the case for lack of Article III standing;…

Plaintiffs can no longer base Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (“MMPA”) claims on sales “puffery”—i.e., exaggerated statements upon which no reasonable consumer would rely, or vague or highly subjective claims of product superiority. That’s the message from Hurst v. Nissan N. Am., Inc., No. WD 78665, 2016 WL 1128297 (Mo. Ct. App. Mar. 22, 2016). In Hurst, Plaintiffs alleged that Nissan violated the MMPA by making representations that “tended to create a false impression” about the quality of its “FX” sport utility vehicles, some of which developed dashboard bubbling from heat and humidity. Id. at *3. In particular, the FX’s marketing materials displayed FX dashboards and stated that the FX contained “premium automotive machinery” and “room for everything except compromise” and that the FX was “a superior product representing excellent value,” “uncompromising,” and “premium.” Id. at *4. The trial court certified a class of 326 Missourians who purchased Infiniti’s FX35 and…

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