A defendant who lost a bench trial in a certified class case alleging that it violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act by forcing the plaintiff and class to use electronic funds transfer services to obtain loans sought to upend the verdict by arguing that the Supreme Court’s recent Spokeo decision made clear the plaintiff lacked Article III standing to sue. The court rejected that argument.
In Spokeo, the Supreme Court ruled that for Article III standing to exist, a plaintiff’s injury must be both concrete and particularized. It clarified that courts must now consider not only whether the defendant has violated a statute, but also the nature of the statute and whether the particular violation results in harm that Congress deemed worthy to prevent. In the case at bar, the plaintiff’s harm, though intangible, was sufficiently concrete to satisfy Article III standing. Congress enacted the EFTA to ensure that consumers are not forced to use electronic funds transfers to obtain loans. It recognized that borrowers enrolled in EFT payments were more likely to incur nonsufficient funds fees. In these circumstances, it was “not difficult to imagine” that the risks associated with electronic funds transfer payments such as nonsufficient funds fees could work concrete harm to consumers. The conditioning violation was more than technical.
De Torre v. Cashcall, Inc., 2016 WL 6892693 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 23, 2016).