Food and Commercial Workers v. Brown Group, Inc., 517 U.S. 544, 11 (1996)

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Opinion of the Court

members of the association actually injured. Indeed, in all cases in which we have expressly recognized standing in associations to represent their members, the relief sought has been of this kind." 422 U. S., at 515. These and later precedents have been understood to preclude associational standing when an organization seeks damages on behalf of its members. See, e. g., Telecommunications Research & Action Center v. Allnet Communication Services, Inc., 806 F. 2d 1093, 1094-1095 (CADC 1986) ("[L]ower federal courts have consistently rejected association assertions of standing to seek monetary, as distinguished from injunctive or declaratory, relief on behalf of the organization's members") (collecting cases).5

One court has suggested that this bar is of constitutional magnitude, see National Assn. of Realtors v. National Real Estate Assn., Inc., 894 F. 2d 937, 941 (CA7 1990) ("[A]ssociations have been held to have standing under Article III of the Constitution to seek injunctive relief—but never damages"). The Court of Appeals here apparently agreed with that suggestion, and so dismissed for lack of union standing despite the WARN Act's provision permitting the union to sue. We therefore take up the question whether the third prong of the associational standing enquiry is of constitutional character.


Although Warth noted that the test's first requirement, that at least one of the organization's members would have standing to sue on his own, is grounded on Article III as an element of "the constitutional requirement of a case or

5 United Food argues that "given the simplified nature of the monetary relief here provided," Brief for Petitioner 44, n. 17, the third prong of the Hunt test is satisfied despite its claim for damages. In light of our conclusion that in the WARN Act Congress has abrogated the third prong of the associational standing test, we need not decide here whether, absent congressional action, the third prong would bar a "simplified" claim for damages.

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