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Data Privacy

Ninth Circuit Finds Overly Revealing Receipt Not Enough for Statutory Damages

By Sara Beth A.R. Kohut, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP           

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has joined the Second and Seventh Circuits in applying Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (U.S. 2016), for Article III standing purposes. In Bassett v. ABM Parking Servs., Inc., No. 16-35933 (9th Cir. Feb. 21, 2018), the court of appeals found that more than an increased risk of identity theft was needed to establish a concrete injury sufficient to recover statutory damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The court of appeals affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff Steven Bassett’s putative class action against a parking service that he claimed violated the FCRA by printing the expiration date of his credit card on a receipt. Bassett did not allege that another copy of the receipt existed, that the receipt was lost or stolen, that anyone other than his lawyers had seen it, or that he had suffered identity theft. Accordingly, the court of appeals analogized the “overly revealing credit card receipt unseen by others and unused by identity thieves” to the proverbial tree falling in the woods with no one around (and declined to answer whether anyone hears it).

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