Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
D.C.
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Mass.
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
N.Carolina
N.Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
S.Carolina
S.Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
W.Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Law Firm Website Design Companies : The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


A Supreme Court ruling handed down Monday could be good news for more than 100 major retailers targeted by class-action lawsuits alleging that the companies failed to comply with a law designed to protect consumers from identity theft. The retailers -- including Rite Aid, KB Toys, Regal Cinemas and In-N-Out Burger -- have been sued for allegedly violating an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that requires companies to remove full credit card numbers and expiration dates from printed customer receipts.

The new protections, added in the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act, went into effect in early December 2006. The provisions were meant to protect shoppers from identity thieves, who have been known to dig through trash dumps to steal receipts in search of credit-card information.

Very shortly after the law took effect, class-action lawyers pounced, charging that dozens of retailers had violated the FCRA by continuing to print receipts without redacting all or some of the data . Citing what they called questionable wording in the statute, attorneys for the retailers claimed their clients were operating under the position that compliance with the law meant redacting either the credit card number or the expiration date, but not necessarily both. (Judge for yourself - the statute reads: "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... .")

Companies found guilty of failing to observe this portion of the FCRA can be fined between $100 to $1,000 per violation, a potentially huge sum for retailers that print tens of thousands of receipts per day.

The plaintiffs filed most of their cases in California, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a pair of decisions that signaled it was apt to be more lenient in deciding which actions (or inactions) constitute a "willful" violation of the FCRA. The Ninth Circuit sent that signal in Safeco Insurance v. Burr and Geico General Insurance v. Edo, saying the insurers violated the FCRA when they failed to tell customers anytime that low credit scores affected the rates they paid. The AP story on Monday's decision says that consumer groups point to the notification requirement in FCRA as "the cornerstone to cleansing credit reports of inaccurate information."

The Ninth Circuit held that defendants could be found liable for a willful violation of the FCRA absent proof that they either actually knew that they would be violating the statute or acted in reckless disregard of whether they were violating it.

The two insurance cases were appealed to the Supreme Court, which on Monday reversed the Ninth Circuit's opinions, sending them back to the lower courts for further deliberation. The High Court's majority opinion, written by Justice David Souter, effectively confined the Ninth Circuit's open-ended definition of what kinds of actions constitute reckless disregard. In order for a company to be found liable for a reckless violation, Souter wrote, its conduct must involve an unjustifiably high risk of harm that is either known to a company or is so obvious that it should have been known.

Charles A. Patrizia, a partner with the Washington office of law firm Paul Hastings, which is representing a number of the retailers targeted in the class-action suits,
said the high court's ruling was a positive development for the defendants, but he doubted that the any of the plaintiffs would go so far as to drop their cases as a result of today's decision.

"So now the question becomes, even with the expiration date printed on the receipt and only part of the credit card number, is there an unjustifiably high risk that someone is going to figure out a way to guess those last missing digits and use it? That risk seems pretty low."

Mark Rasch, a former Justice Department prosecutor who now serves as a managing director at FTI Consulting, called Monday's decision good news for the retailers in the class-action cases, but said the jury was still out for its impact on consumer rights.

"While this decision doesn't mean companies can avoid liability simply by avoiding knowing about legal requirements, it means companies are free to be wrong, as long as they're not grossly wrong," Rasch said.


Legal News | Breaking News | Terms & Conditions | Privacy

ⓒ Breaking Legal News. All Rights Reserved.

The content contained on the web site has been prepared by BLN as a service to the internet community and is not intended to constitute legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case. Small Law Firm Web Design by Law Promo
   More Legal News
   Legal Spotlight
   Exclusive Commentaries
   Attorney & Blog - Blog Watch
   Law Firm News  1  2  3  4  5  6 
   Lawyer & Law Firm Links
San Francisco Trademark Lawyer
San Francisco Copyright Lawyer
www.onulawfirm.com
Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Indianapolis Medical Malpractice
www.rwp-law.com
Canton Criminal Lawyer
Canton DUI lawyer
www.cantoncriminalattorney.com
Expert witness public transportation
Taxi/limo expert witness
www.transalt.com
Chicago Business Law Attorney
Corporate Litigation Attorneys
www.rothlawgroup.com
Surry County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Yadkin County Family Law Attorneys
www.dirussolaw.com
Oregon DUI Law Attorney
Eugene DUI Lawyer. Criminal Defense Law
www.mjmlawoffice.com
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Wrongful Death Attorneys Houston
Houston Wrongful Death
New York Adoption Lawyers
New York Foster Care Lawyers
Adoption Pre-Certification
www.lawrsm.com
Chicago, DuPage IL Workers' Compensation Lawyers
Chicago Workplace Injury Attorneys
www.krol-law.com
St. Louis Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyer
St. Charles DUI Attorney
www.lynchlawonline.com
Santa Ana Workers' Compensation Lawyers
www.davidgentrylaw.com
Eugene Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorney Eugene
willamettevalleybankruptcy.com
Lorain Elyria Divorce Lawyer
www.loraindivorceattorney.com
Connecticut Special Education Lawyer
www.fortelawgroup.com
   More Legal News  1  2  3  4  5  6
   Legal News Links
  Click The Law
  Daily Bar News
  The Legal Voice
  The Legal Report
  Legal News Post
  Crisis Legal News
  Legal News Journal
  Attorney Web Design
  Bar Association Website Design
  Law Firm Directory