United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MICHAEL COLEMAN, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION, REEVES BOOMLAND, INC., and BI-STATE SOUTHERN OIL COMPANY Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
receiving an overly revealing credit card receipt-unseen by
others and unused by identity thieves-a sufficient injury to
confer Article III standing?” Bassett v. ABM
Parking Servs., Inc., 883 F.3d 776, 777 (9th Cir. 2018).
Under the facts of this case, it is not.
alleges defendants violated the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act (“the Act”) by printing the
first six digits of his credit card on the receipts they
provided after he purchased gas. Defendants claim plaintiff
does not have standing and have moved to dismiss (#16).
Because plaintiff failed to allege a concrete injury, the
motion will be granted.
alleges he got gas at one of the defendants' locations
several times during the summer of 2017. Each time, after
processing plaintiff's credit card, defendants provided a
printed receipt that listed the first six and last four
digits of plaintiff's sixteen-digit credit card number.
Plaintiff alleges defendants “willfully” violated
the Act, which prohibits defendants from printing more than
the last five digits of plaintiff's credit card number on
any receipt provided at the point of sale.
occasion, . . . [p]laintiff believes he has forgotten to pull
his receipt out of the machine, leaving it hanging in public
view.” (#1 at 8, ¶ 58.) “At other times, . .
. [p]laintiff believes he has thrown his receipt in the trash
next to the pump.” (#1 at 8, ¶ 59.) He does not
allege anyone tried stealing his identity by using the
information on his receipts. In fact, he does not allege
anyone even saw the receipts, let alone the ten digits of his
credit card number. Instead, plaintiff alleges the defendants
caused him to “suffer a heightened risk of identity
theft, and potentially exposed [his] private
information to third parties who may have come into
contact with those receipts.” (#1 at 11-12, ¶ 84)
(emphases added). As such, he seeks statutory and punitive
Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
court must dismiss a complaint if it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction. Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S.
500, 514 (2006). At the motion-to-dismiss stage, the Court
must “accept the allegations contained in the complaint
as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmoving party.” Cole v. Homier Dist. Co.,
599 F.3d 856, 861 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Coons v.
Mineta, 410 F.3d 1036, 1039 (8th Cir. 2005)).
Act. Congress passed the Act, an amendment to the
Fair Credit Reporting Act, to curb identity theft by reducing
the personal information printed on credit and debit card
receipts. Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act of
2003, Pub. L. No. 108- 159, 117 Stat. 1952 (Dec. 4, 2003)
(codified at 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1681x). The Act
provides “no person that accepts credit cards or debit
cards for the transaction of business shall print more than
the last 5 digits of the card number or the expiration date
upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of
the sale or transaction.” 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g)(1).
A plaintiff may recover actual damages resulting from a
negligent violation, id. §
1681o(a), or actual, statutory, and
punitive damages for a willful violation, id. §
the Act's compliance deadline, consumers filed
“hundreds of lawsuits” alleging merchants that
failed to remove the expiration date (a requirement not at
issue in this case) willfully violated the Act. Credit &
Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act of 2007, Pub. L. No.
110-241, § 2(a)(4), 122 Stat. 1565 (June 3, 2008)
(codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(d)). Yet none of these
consumers alleged their identity had been harmed.
Id. § 2(a)(5). Congress responded by amending
the Act so that persons who only violated the Act by printing
expiration dates could not be sued for a willful violation
for roughly four years. See Id. § 3. In doing
so, Congress stated the purpose of the amendment “is to
ensure that consumers suffering from any actual harm
to their credit or identity are protected while
simultaneously limiting abusive lawsuits that do not protect
consumers but only result in increased cost to business and
potentially increased prices to consumers.”
Id. § 2(b) (emphasis added).
plaintiff's allegations as true, there is no doubt that
defendants violated the statute. But that does not mean
plaintiff automatically has standing to bring this claim.
“Indeed, Congress does not have the final word on
whether a plaintiff has alleged a sufficient injury for the
purposes of standing[.]” Meyers v. Nicolet Rest. of
De Pere, LLC, 843 F.3d 724, 727 (7th Cir. 2016),
cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 2267 (2017).
Article III of the Constitution gives federal courts the
power to decide actual cases and controversies only. U.S.
Const. art. III, § 2. In fact, “[n]o principle is
more fundamental to the judiciary's proper role in our
system of government than the constitutional limitation of
federal-court jurisdiction to actual cases or
controversies.” Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136
S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016), as revised (May 24, 2016)
(alteration in original) (quoting Raines v. Byrd,
521 U.S. 811, 818 (1997)). Ruling without a case or
controversy “create[s] the potential for abuse of the
judicial process, distort[s] the role of the Judiciary in its
relationship to the Executive and the Legislature[, ] and
open[s] the ...