On April 9, 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued an important opinion in a case (Grimes v. Rave Reviews Cinema, LLC) being handled by our firm. This case had been consolidated on appeal with several other similar cases. These cases are national class actions brought for violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA). It’s alleged in each case that the Defendants illegally printed more than five digits of a customer’s credit or debit card number on receipts. Congress enacted FACTA to protect citizens from having too much of their personal/private credit card information disclosed on printed receipts. The purpose of the Act was to prevent identity theft.
We filed the Rave case in Federal Court in Birmingham, Alabama. The trial judge ruled that FACTA was unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, but mainly that the guarantee of a penalty against statute violators between $100 and $1,000 per violation was constitutionally excessive. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, holding that it was not yet an appropriate time to challenge the excessiveness of the statutory damages called for in the Act. Additionally, the panel reversed a ruling by the lower court that the statute was unconstitutionally vague on how a jury should be charged on awarding damages in the range of $100 to $1,000 per violation. The Court held that the statute clearly defines both the type conduct prohibited and the potential range of fines for a violation of the Act.
Our case was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings. We are now preparing to address the issue of class certification. The ruling on appeal was a positive win for consumers who are seeking to protect their identity rights under the statute. It was a most important decision by the Appeals Court. Jay Aughtman from our firm is the lead lawyer in this case and we believe it to be a very good one.
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