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September 05, 2009

Another new FCRA case - Shurland v. Bacci Cafe & Pizzeria

Can't say I've ever sued a pizzeria before.  But one of the latest FCRA cases involves a lawsuit against a pizzeria - Christopher Shurland v. Bacci Cafe & Pizzeria.  The case comes to us from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer presiding.

The plaintiff purchased a pizza from Bacci Cafe & Pizzeria and paid with a credit card.  His receipt, however, contained his full credit card number and expiration number, a big no no under the FCRA.  Shurland then sued Bacci Cafe & Pizzeria in a class action lawsuit on behalf of everyone else that received receipts with non-truncated credit card numbers.

The pizzeria moved to dismiss the plaintiff's claims via summary judgment, arguing that their violation of the FCRA was not willful (the defendant admitted violating the FCRA) because it did not know of the requirement to truncate credit card numbers.  A willful violation is one committed knowingly or with reckless disregard for the law. 

The Court correctly did not buy the pizzeria's argument that its alleged lack of knowledge of the law gives it a pass.  First, ignorance of the law is no excuse.  Second, the evidence shows that the pizzeria was called by at least three employees of the company that sold it the credit card machine and told that it needed to update its software to comply with the FCRA's requirement to truncate credit card numbers.  Further, the credit card machine company's monthly bill to the pizzeria indicated that truncation was required.  Yet, the pizzeria did nothing (except bake pies). 

The Court correctly denied the pizzeria's motion for summary judgment and granted class certification.

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