CAMDEN, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – A New Jersey federal judge on June 6 dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit against retailer J.Crew was for lack of proof that the plaintiff experienced any concrete harm as a result of J.Crew’s alleged actions.

Plaintiff Ahmed Kamal claimed alleged violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) by J.Crew, but Judge William Martini, of the District of New Jersey, turned his claims away.

FACTA states that “no person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business shall print more than the last five digits of the card number upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of the sale or transaction.”

Kamal alleged that on three separate occasions, J.Crew printed the first six and last four digits of his credit card number on transaction receipts. Kamal brought this action “on behalf of all persons or entities to whom Defendants provided an electronically printed receipt at the point of sale or transaction . . . which receipt displayed more than the last five digits of the customer’s credit card number,” according to the opinion.

As per the judge’s decision, the plaintiff claimed that by violating FACTA, J.Crew caused him “concrete injury” on two accounts. Firstly, Kamal claimed that J.Crew disclosed information considered by law to be intrinsically private. Second, he claimed that J.Crew put him at an increased future risk of identity theft or credit card fraud. Kamal was seeking $100 to $1,000 in statutory damages per violation along with attorneys fees and punitive damages.

Martini found that neither of the two theories proposed by Kamal adequately alleged that “concrete” harm came to him by J.Crew’s actions and that Kamal failed to satisfy the injury-in-fact element of his claim, as required by constitutional standing.

Martini asserted that with the establishment of FACTA, Congress intended to ensure that consumers suffering from any actual harm to their credit or identity are protected.” Martini found that Kamal failed to clearly allege facts demonstrating that he sustained any concrete injury or injury to his privacy rights as per J.Crew’s actions.

According to Martini, the plaintiff voluntarily shared his credit card information with J.Crew. Had the retailer printed the full credit card number on the receipt or any additional personal information of the plaintiff, the plaintiff may have had a case. 

Given the facts of the case, Martini decided that “the court cannot reasonably infer that printing the first six and last four digits of plaintiff’s credit card materially increased the risk of future harm, because doing so ‘gives an identity thief no more personal information about a person's account than Congress has permitted to be printed on receipts.’”

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