Professor Thomas Bennett’s scholarship recently was cited by Justice Clarence Thomas in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez.
“By declaring that federal courts lack jurisdiction, the Court has thus ensured that state courts will exercise exclusive jurisdiction over these sorts of class actions,” Justice Thomas wrote in his dissent.
As noted in an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Supreme Court Pares Back Class-Action Suits,” and in Reuters, “State court will be next frontier for consumer class actions under federal law,” Justice Thomas’ dissent cited Professor Bennett’s paper “The Paradox of Exclusive State-Court Jurisdiction Over Federal Claims,” which is about the move of federal claims from federal to state courts.
TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez was a class-action lawsuit by 8,185 individuals with alerts in their credit files indicating that they were on a list maintained by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The OFAC list includes terrorists, drug traffickers, and other serious criminals. They sued TransUnion LLC under the Fair Credit Reporting Act for failing to ensure accuracy in its credit reporting. By a 5-4 vote, the court said plaintiffs do not suffer a concrete injury — and therefore cannot sue in federal court — when credit bureaus fail to use reasonable procedures to maintain accurate information, but don’t disseminate erroneous reports to third parties.