Oral argument: Nov. 30, 2011
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (June 21, 2010)
In this case, the Supreme Court will decide whether a plaintiff has Article III standing to sue under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) when the plaintiff alleges no injury-in-fact. Respondent Denise Edwards contends that she has standing because, through RESPA, Congress identified a specific harm resulting from a conflict of interest between title insurance service firms and title agents who enter exclusive agreements to exchange referrals for kickbacks. Edwards argues that Congress tethered that harm to a certain class of plaintiffs, which includes Edwards. Respondent First American Financial Corporation rejoins that a plaintiff must allege a personal and concrete harm to gain Constitutional standing. Under this standard, First American asserts that Edwards alleged no such harm and thus lacks standing to sue. The Court’s decision here has the potential to greatly enhance plaintiffs’ ability to organize class actions and obtain relief for statutory violations in various industries and differing legal frameworks.