In a resounding victory for firm client Pep Boys, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld Judge J. Curtis Joyner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s decision that appellant Vickie Thorne lacks standing to bring her class action complaint. Vickie Thorne brought her putative class action against Pep Boys pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 574.8, alleging it failed to provide tire registration information about tires that plaintiff, and others similarly situated, purchased from Pep Boys. Appellant’s allegations rested solely on an alleged procedural violation of the statute. In July 2019, Judge Joyner granted Pep Boys’ initial motion to dismiss without prejudice because appellant failed to identify an injury in fact pursuant to Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016) and Kamal v. J. Crew Grp., Inc., 918 F.2d 102 (3d Cir. 2019), allowing plaintiff leave to amend her complaint. Appellant filed an almost identical amended complaint, which Pep Boys’ again sought to dismiss. This time, Judge Joyner dismissed Appellant’s action with prejudice. Vickie Thorne appealed.
The Third Circuit agreed with Judge Joyner that a “dealer’s failure to help register a buyer’s tires … does not, by itself, create an injury in fact for purposes of Article III standing.” While the Third Circuit ultimately found that “[d]ismissal for lack of standing reflects a lack of jurisdiction, so dismissal of Thorne’s amended complaint should have been without prejudice,” the Opinion strengthens the Third Circuit’s line of decisions following Spokeo and Kamal in requiring a concrete injury in fact for Article III standing.
The Littleton Park team was led by partners C. Scott Toomey and Kristen E. Dennison.