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Daniel v. Nat'l Park Serv.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

December 5, 2017, Argued and Submitted, Seattle, Washington; May 30, 2018, Filed

No. 16-35689

Opinion

 [*765]  Opinion by Judge McKeown

McKEOWN, Circuit Judge:

This appeal is one of many in which plaintiffs seek redress for violation of a federal law that requires redaction of certain credit and debit card information on printed receipts. Stephanie Daniel [**3]  alleges that identity thieves made fraudulent charges on her debit card at some unspecified time after she visited Yellowstone National Park. Daniel sued the National Park Service for issuing a receipt showing her debit card's expiration date, a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"). 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g).

We affirm the district court's dismissal of Daniel's suit. As an initial matter, Daniel lacks standing because her complaint makes only conclusory allegations that her stolen identity was traceable to the Park Service's alleged FCRA violation. Nonetheless, giving Daniel leave to amend the complaint would be futile because the FCRA does not waive the federal government's sovereign immunity from Daniel's suit.

Background

When Daniel purchased an entrance pass to Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service (the "Park Service") printed a receipt bearing her full debit card expiration date. According to Daniel, the Park Service violated the FCRA's prohibition that "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 provided to the cardholder at the point of [**4]  the sale or transaction." 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g) (emphases added). The receipt otherwise complied with the FCRA's card-number redaction requirements—it did not print more than the last five digits of the debit card number.

Daniel sued the Park Service, on behalf of herself and a putative class, under one of the FCRA's enforcement provisions: "Any person who willfully fails to comply with [the FCRA] with respect to any consumer is liable to that consumer" for statutory damages of between $100 and $1,000 per violation or "any actual damages sustained by the consumer," costs and attorneys' fees, and potential punitive damages. Id. § 1681n. Daniel claimed that after the Yellowstone transaction, her debit card was used fraudulently and she suffered damages from her stolen identity. She also alleged that the fraudulent use of her debit card was caused in part by the inclusion of the card's expiration date on her Yellowstone receipt.

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891 F.3d 762 *; 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 14185 **; 2018 WL 2424494

STEPHANIE DANIEL, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE; DOES, 1-10, Defendants-Appellees.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Montana. D.C. No. 1:16-cv-00018-SPW. Susan P. Watters, District Judge, Presiding.

Daniel v. Nat'l Park Serv., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109199 (D. Mont., Aug. 16, 2016)

Disposition: AFFIRMED.

CORE TERMS

sovereign immunity, debit card, waive, consumer, violates, punitive damages, provisions, expiration date, identity theft, damages, waiver of sovereign immunity, immunity, printed, federal government, unequivocally, enforcement provision, traceable, willfully, card, fraudulent, tribes, actual damage, allegations, authorizes, stolen, consumer reporting agency, legislative history, explicit waiver, fail to comply, abrogate

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Federal Government, Claims By & Against, Constitutional Law, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Standing, Standing, Elements, Pleading & Practice, Pleadings, Rule Application & Interpretation, Preliminary Considerations, Justiciability, Banking Law, Consumer Protection, Fair Credit Reporting, Liability for Violations, Torts, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Sovereign Immunity, Legislation, Interpretation