A 5-4 Supreme Court held today that assignees have standing to sue even if they don’t stand to gain financially from a favorable outcome. Sprint Communications Co., L.P. v. APCC Services, Inc., No. 07-552 (U.S. June 23, 2008).
The case involved claims to recover compensation from long-distance carriers for "dial-around" services that payphone operators provided to payphone customers. The operators assigned their claims to "aggregators" for purposes of collection. The aggregators in turn promised to remit the proceeds of their collection efforts to the operators, who agreed to pay the aggregators for their services. The district court refused to dismiss the claims for lack of standing, and the D.C. Circuit affirmed.
The Court rejected the petitioners’ arguments for denying the aggregators Article III standing and "prudential" standing. Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas dissented.