9th Circuit Affirms Dismissal of FCRA Putative Class Action for Lack of Standing

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The Ninth Circuit has ruled that a plaintiff failed to allege a concrete injury-in-fact sufficient for Article III standing in a suit alleging a violation of the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA).  The panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the suit where the plaintiff received a credit card receipt displaying the card’s full expiration date.

The panel applied Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), in which the Supreme Court emphasized that Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.  The panel held that because there was no identity thief present to steal the receipt, there was no injury.

The panel also discussed the legislative history of the FCRA requirement to redact credit card expiration dates.  The panel concluded that the congressional judgment weighed against the plaintiff because Congress’ findings showed that a disclosed expiration date by itself posed minimal risk, and thus such a violation on its own was not sufficient to allege a concrete injury.

Finally, the panel found the plaintiff’s alternative statutory theories of injury to be unpersuasive because (1) no purported substantive right of privacy was invaded when the plaintiff’s private information was not disclosed to anyone but himself and (2) the plaintiff did not allege any actual or material risk of harm as a result of the alleged procedural violation.  Thus, the Ninth Circuit panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case due to lack of standing.

The Second and Seventh Circuits have dismissed identical consumer class action cases alleging credit card expiration date redaction violations for lack of standing.

The case is Bassett v. ABM Parking Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 2:16-CV-00947 (9th Cir. 2018), and the opinion is available here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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