On December 13, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the dismissal of a proposed class action alleging that a restaurant did not properly truncate credit card expiration dates on receipts, finding the plaintiff lacked Article III standing.
The plaintiff, Jeremy Meyers, was given a copy of his receipt after dining at Nicolet Restaurant of de Pere, a restaurant owned by the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. Meyers noticed that the receipt did not truncate the expiration date of his credit card, as required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). Two months later, Meyers filed a putative class action complaint in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, purportedly on behalf of every customer who received a non-compliant receipt from Nicolet. Meyers’ suit sought only statutory damages.
Meyers’ complaint named both the restaurant and the Oneida Tribe as defendants. In an earlier appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the Oneida Tribe, finding that sovereign immunity barred Meyers’ claim against the Tribe. Meyers again appealed to the Seventh Circuit when the district court denied his motion for class certification, after the district court determined that Meyers failed to establish that class-wide issues would predominate over issues affecting only individual class members.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the Seventh Circuit found that Meyers’ allegations did not satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement to establish Article III standing. The Court noted that Meyers neither suffered harm nor any appreciable risk of harm because he himself discovered the FACTA violation immediately and no one else saw the non-compliant receipt. “In these circumstances,” the Court wrote, “it is hard to imagine how the expiration date’s presence could have increased the risk that Meyers’ identity would be compromised.”
In a footnote, the Court stated that its conclusion in Meyers’ case would not render null the statutory damages provision of the FACTA. Where a future plaintiff can demonstrate that a violation of the FACTA, or any other provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, caused concrete harm, then he or she can seek statutory damages where actual damages are small or difficult to ascertain.
As Meyers could not establish injury to confer Article III standing, the Court did not reach the merits of his class certification claim and instead remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
The Court’s opinion is available here.