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Sunday, July 5, 2009

New FCRA case - Rosenthal v. Longchamp Coral Gables

A new FCRA case came out of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on June 29, 2009. The case is styled Yvonne Rosenthal v. Longchamp Coral Gables, LLC. District Judge Moreno handed down the decision.

The Plaintiff alleged in her Complaint that the Defendant had violated 15 U.S.C. 1681c(g) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 1681c(g) prohibits the publication of full credit card numbers and expiration dates by merchants on receipts for purchases. See my post about 1681c(g) at http://fcralawyer.blogspot.com/2009/06/15-usc-1681c-part-3.html.

The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss claiming that the Complaint did not properly state a cause of action for a willful violation of 1681c(g). I don't know why it would be so hard to allege a willful violation. Complaints in the federal system (and in most state courts as well) are merely required to be "notice" pleadings. In other words, they are not required to give all the details. They must merely put the defendant on notice of the claims against it. I usually do this by just saying "Defendant willfully violation section __________" and fill in the blank with the section or sections I allege the defendant willfully violated. Some attorneys just say "Defendant willfully violated the FCRA" without even specifying which exact section.

Anyway, the Southern District of Florida found that the plaintiff had alleged a willful violation by citing that a willful violation includes violations committed with reckless disregard of the law. The Court relied on the plaintiff's allegation that Chase (the defendant's credit card merchant) had provided notice to defendant on numerous occasions that it was not supposed to print full credit card numbers or expiration dates. This allegation alone was sufficient to allege a willful violation of the FCRA, which is all that is needed to survive a motion to dismiss. Thus, Judge Moreno got it right when he did not grant the defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

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