Two record-setting deals were recently reached in Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) cases, where the Laboratory Corporation of America and Spirit Airlines agreed to pay $11 million in the largest settlement ever reported under the federal privacy statute.
Both cases were brought by Christopher Legg. In the LabCorp dispute, Legg claimed the company printed the expiration dates of credit and debit cards on receipts for lab tests in violation of FACTA. The defendant’s conduct was willful, the plaintiff asserted, because the receipts redacted digits from the credit or debit card used, demonstrating LabCorp’s awareness of the statute.
To settle the charges, LabCorp agreed to pay roughly $200 to each class member, a nationwide group dating back five years and estimated around 665,000 individuals. Legg will receive an incentive award of $10,000.
LabCorp also changed its practices to achieve compliance with the statute by reprogramming its payment system to stop printing expiration dates on receipts. “Given the hurdles facing the class in this litigation and the difficulty of proving willfulness, the results achieved are outstanding,” according to the motion for preliminary approval of the deal. “Indeed, counsel believes this settlement is the largest cash settlement recovered in a FACTA case.”
Legg’s complaint against Spirit Airlines alleged slightly different facts. It asserted that the company revealed too many credit card digits on its receipts. The plaintiff’s receipt displayed not just the last four digits of his credit card but also the first seven digits of his account number. FACTA permits only the last five digits to be printed. Because a similar lawsuit was filed against the airline in 2010, the plaintiff accused Spirit of willful and reckless violations of the statute.
Pursuant to the deal, class members—passengers who paid using their debit or credit card and had too many digits printed on their receipts since August 2012—will receive about $265 each.
Spirit similarly modified its payments system to achieve compliance with FACTA by having IBM reprogram its airport kiosks to print no more than the last five digits of credit and debit card account numbers.
To read the motion in support of preliminary approval of the settlement inLegg v. LabCorp, click here.
To read the motion in support of preliminary approval of the settlement inLegg v. Spirit Airlines, click here.
Why it matters: The multimillion-dollar deals in the LabCorp and Spirit Airlines cases provide an important reminder that companies must ensure compliance with FACTA, with respect to the number of digits printed on a receipt and the expiration date exclusion.