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Strange v. Wal-Mart Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

May 16, 2018





         Before the Court is a motion to dismiss for lack of standing filed by Defendant Wal-Mart Inc. ("Wal-Mart"). [Record Document 7]. Because the Court finds that Clinton Strange ("Strange") has not alleged a concrete injury caused by Wal-Mart's violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act ("FACTA"), the motion is GRANTED, and Strange's complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         To reduce the risk of identity theft, FACTA provides: "[N]o 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 the sale or transaction." 15 U.S.C. § l68lc(g)(1) (2012). Intentional violations expose a merchant to liability for "any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or damages of not less than $100 and not more than $1, 000." 15 U.S.C. § l68ln(a)(1)(A) (2012); for negligent noncompliance, a merchant is liable for actual damages only. 15 U.S.C. § l68lo(a)(1) (2012).

         Strange alleges that he visited a Wal-Mart store on October 13, 2015 where he paid for his purchases with a credit card. [Record Document 3 at 3]. Upon returning home, he placed the receipt in a shoe box. [Id.]. On January 1, 2018, he noticed that the receipt included the last four digits of his credit card number and the expiration date. [Id. at 4]. Concerned by this apparent FACTA violation, Strange contacted Wal-Mart via an online form and was then instructed to speak with a manager at the store that issued the receipt. [Id.]. Strange alleges that as a result of his trip to Wal-Mart to speak with the manager he "incurred expenses regarding lost time from work, [m]ileage, and any future costs both known and unknown as a direct and proximate cause of the Defendant's willful and/or negligent actions." [Id. at 10].

         Wal-Mart moved to dismiss, arguing that Strange lacks standing to assert a procedural violation of FACTA because he did not allege that the appearance of the expiration date on the receipt caused him any injury. [Record Document 7]. Strange has responded, asserting that lost time at work due to the trip to Wal-Mart suffices to create standing. [Record Document 10].

         II. Law & Analysis

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) allows a defendant to move for the dismissal of a plaintiffs claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. '"A case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case."' Home Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting Nowak v. Ironworkers Local6 Pension Fund, 81 F.3d 1182, 1187 (2d Cir. 1996)). The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. In re FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Prods. Liab Litig, 668 F.3d 281, 286 (5th Cir. 2012) (citing Castro v. United States, 560 F.3d 381, 386 (5th Cir. 2009), vacated on other grounds, 608 F.3d 266 (5th Cir. 2010)). To determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction, the Court can look to "the complaint alone, the complaint supplemented by the undisputed facts as evidenced in the record, or the complaint supplemented by the undisputed facts plus the court's resolution of the disputed facts." Id. at 287 (citing Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001)).

         A defendant's Rule 12(b)(1) motion is a "facial attack" unless supplemented with affidavits, testimony, or other evidentiary materials. Paterson v. Weinberger, 644 F.2d 521, 523 (5th Cir. 1981). In considering a "facial attack, " the Court "is required merely to look to the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint because they are presumed to be true. If those jurisdictional allegations are sufficient the complaint stands." Id. Because Wal-Mart submitted no evidence with its Rule 12(b)(1) motion, it has raised a "facial attack;" thus, the Court need only determine whether Strange's complaint sufficiently alleges the necessary jurisdictional facts.

         B. Standing Requirement for Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         Federal court have jurisdiction only over "cases" and "controversies" that are "amenable to, and resolved by, the judicial process." Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 102 (1998) (citing Muskrat v. United States, 219 U.S. 346, 356-57 (1911)). For a case to be justiciable, the plaintiff must have standing. Id. (citing Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 155 (1990)). Standing requires that a plaintiff demonstrate:

(1) [she] has suffered an "injury in fact" that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and 3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, ...

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