We are all familiar with the question: “If a tree falls in a forest without anyone nearby to hear it, does it make a sound?” Lawyers may restate the question as one of Article III standing, or as the Supreme Court said this June in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190, “A letter that is not sent does not harm anyone,” and therefore does not give a basis to sue for a statutory wrong, “no matter how insulting the letter is.”

TransUnion is the latest in a line of cases, including Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 578 U.S. 330 (2016), to address the outer reaches of standing to sue phone companies, debt collectors and the like, for “intangible” as well as tangible harm caused by technical violations of federal statutes enacted to protect consumers, where the statutes give consumers a private right of action.