MIAMI (Legal Newsline) – Attorneys for the restaurant chain Cheesecake Factory Inc. have moved to dismiss a complaint filed by a chiropractor in Florida who maintains a Cheesecake Factory outlet in the state issued him a receipt that put him and thousands of other consumers at risk of identity theft.
The complaint brought by Dr. David S. Muranski alleges a Cheesecake Factory in Pembroke Pines, Florida, issued him a receipt after Muranski purchased food Jan. 22 that revealed the first and last four digits of his credit card, putting him and others at risk of identity theft.
Although his claim alleged no personal harm because of the transaction, no lost money, credit damage or identity theft, the complainant filed a national class action suit Jan. 30, alleging a violation of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA).
He further contended that dozens of Cheesecake Factory outlets had offered similar receipts and that by displaying more than five digits of a credit card they had violated FACTA protections and put numerous other consumers at a similar risk.
Attorneys for California-based Cheesecake Factory filed a motion to dismiss the case with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on March 24. They said the complaint should be thrown out because it was a one-time-only accusation, and that the complainant had failed to show any personal “concrete injury” sufficient to warrant the case.
The attorneys noted that the plaintiff must allege a concrete injury even when he pleads a statutory violation.
Further, the defense maintained Muranski had failed to show willful, knowing or reckless conduct and that the company had a 10-year unblemished record of complying with FACTA regulations. Cheesecake Factory attorneys said it had processed tens of millions of credit or debit card transactions with properly “truncated” or cut-off portions of card digits in the 10 years since FACTA had been enacted in 2006.
The defense maintained the law requires Muranksi to show “injury in fact” in the case and that the complainant must suffer some personal harm or risk of harm from a statutory violation to seek the jurisdiction of a federal court. Further it was stated Cheesecake Factory had a written policy in place mandating the use of truncated credit card digits.
Muranski was earlier accused of fraud in billing Medicaid for spinal treatment he never performed though the amount in question was small, only $245, the defense said. In addition Cheesecake Factory attorneys say in 1989 Muranski pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and was restricted from Medicaid for five years.