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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Appellate Court reverses and remands FACTA action

Courts State Issues FACTA Enforcement Class Action Consumer Protection Appellate

Courts

On January 22, the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, reversed the dismissal for lack of standing of a FACTA class action brought on behalf of the class by two individuals (consumers) who claimed that an entertainment company (defendant) violated the act when it printed more than the last five digits of the consumers’ payment card number on their receipts. According to the opinion, the complaint alleged that the consumers made a number of purchases from the defendant, each time receiving sales receipts with the first six digits and the last four digits of the consumers’ debit card printed on each receipt. The consumers then filed a class action suit accusing the defendant of willful violation of FACTA, and further, of knowingly or recklessly failing to adhere to the acts’ prohibition against ‘“print[ing] more than the last 5 digits of the card or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction.”’ The defendants first removed the action to federal district court, which granted the consumers’ motion to remand back to state court. The defendants then argued that: (i) the consumers lacked standing because they failed to allege an injury; and (ii) the consumers failed to allege facts showing a willful violation of FACTA. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss as to standing on the first allegation, but did not consider the second allegation of willfulness, after which the consumers appealed.

Upon appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s dismissal for lack of standing noting that unlike federal courts, Illinois circuit courts are vested with “jurisdiction to adjudicate all controversies,” and determined that the consumers did have standing to sue even without pleading actual injury, as an allegation of the violation was sufficient. The court stated that “when a person willfully fails to comply with FACTA’s truncation requirements, the statute provides a private cause of action for statutory damages and does not require a consumer to suffer actual damages before seeking recourse.” Additionally, the court decided that the consumers had alleged “sufficient facts” to show that defendant willfully violated FACTA. The panel remanded the case to the lower court to further consider the issues.

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