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Supreme Court limits prosecution of fake terrorism links on credit reports

By on June 25, 2021 0

The smaller group, Judge Kavanaugh wrote, suffered an injury bordering on libel.

“Under long-standing US law, a person is hurt when a defamatory statement” that would subject them to hatred, contempt or ridicule “is posted to a third party,” he wrote, citing. a 1990 libel decision. “We have no difficulty in concluding that the 1,853 members of the group suffered tangible harm. “

But, he wrote, the other 6,332 were not injured.

“The mere presence of an inaccuracy in an internal credit report, if not disclosed to a third party, causes no tangible harm,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “In cases like these where allegedly inaccurate or misleading information is found in a company database, the harm to complainants is about the same, legally speaking, as if someone wrote a defamatory letter. then stored it in his desk drawer. A letter that is not sent does not hurt anyone, no matter how insulting it is. So also here.

He also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the largest group of class members suffered a risk of future harm. There was no evidence, he writes, that these plaintiffs even knew there was false information in their credit reports.

“If these plaintiffs prevail in this case, many of them would first learn that they were ‘injured’ when they received a check compensating them for their alleged ‘injury’,” Judge Kavanaugh wrote. . “It is difficult to see how a risk of future harm could serve as a basis for the quality of a complainant when the complainant did not even know that there was a risk of future harm.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett joined the majority opinion in TransUnion v. Ramirez, No. 20-297.

In dissent, Justice Thomas wrote that the majority had departed from common sense.

“TransUnion has generated credit reports that falsely flagged many law-abiding individuals as terrorists and potential drug traffickers,” Judge Thomas wrote.

“Yet despite Congress ruling that such wrongdoing deserves redress,” he wrote, “the majority decides TransUnion’s actions are so trivial that the Constitution prohibits consumers from asserting their rights in court. federal. The Constitution does no such thing.