On March 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which dismissed passengers’ claims that six taxi companies violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) by printing too many digits on their credit card receipts. Montgomery McCracken partner John G. Papianou successfully defended the taxi companies in Noble v. Nevada Checker Cab Corporation.
The class action complaint stemmed from the passengers’ allegations that the taxi companies printed credit card receipts that displayed the first digit and last four digits of cardholders’ credit card numbers, when the statute allows no more than the last five. On August 19, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ruled that the passengers had no standing to sue because the alleged violations caused them no “concrete harm” and dismissed their complaint. They appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
On appeal, the taxi companies relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, which held that “Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.” The Ninth Circuit agreed and affirmed the district court’s dismissal because the passengers alleged neither actual harm nor any real risk of harm. They faced no real risk of identity theft because they still had their receipts, and, even if the receipts had fallen into a thief’s hands, the risk of identity theft Congress sought to prevent was nil because the first digit merely discloses the card’s brand (e.g., Visa or MasterCard). Congress did not prohibit printing a credit card’s brand along with its last five digits on receipts.