February 10, 2017

Seventh Circuit, Applying "Spokeo", Dismisses Putative Class Claim for Lack of Article III Standing

Jeffrey D. Gardner

The Seventh Circuit, in Meyers v. Nicolet Restaurant of De Pere, recently became the first circuit court to address Article III standing after the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo v. Robbins.  In Spokeo, the Supreme Court expressly stated that a plaintiff cannot establish Article III standing by relying solely on a “bare procedural violation” absent real world harm.  “Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation.” 

In Meyers, the plaintiff received a copy of a receipt after dining at the defendant’s restaurant, and noticed that the receipt did not truncate the credit card’s expiration date as may be required by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g).  Shortly after visiting the restaurant, the plaintiff brought a putative class action seeking statutory damages for himself and everyone that received a non-compliant receipt from the restaurant.  The plaintiff in Meyers argued Congress, through FACTA, granted him the right to receive a receipt that truncated the expiration date on his credit or debit card.  The defendant in Meyers countered that its alleged FACTA violation did not cause the plaintiff any actual harm.  The Seventh Circuit stated that “Spokeo compels the conclusion that [plaintiff’s] allegations are insufficient to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement for Article III standing.” The Court explained that the allegations of the complaint actually demonstrated that plaintiff did not suffer any harm because of the defendant’s printing of the expiration date on his receipt.  “Nor has the violation created any appreciable risk of harm.”  The matter was remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction.

Jeffrey D. Gardner

Member at Jennings Strouss in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also a cochair of the Trial Practice Committee.