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Cicilline v. Jewel Food Stores

March 31, 2008

STEPHEN CICILLINE, JR., ET AL, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
JEWEL FOOD STORES, INC., D/B/A JEWEL-OSCO, A NEW YORK CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Class Certification (DE 45), filed by Plaintiffs Stephen Cicilline Jr., Jeffrey Batterson, and Christopher Iosello on September 12, 2007. The Court has reviewed the parties' briefs and statements, and, for the reasons stated below, the Court grants Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and denies as moot Plaintiffs' Motion to Cite Additional Authority in Support of Class Certification (DE 76).

I. Background

This lawsuit is one of hundreds of nearly identical actions filed against retailers in several states. Plaintiffs Stephen Cicilline, Jr., Jeffrey Batterson, and Christopher Iosello*fn1 allege that Defendant Jewel Food Stores ("Jewel") violated 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g), a provision of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 ("FACTA"). Section 1681c(g) provides:

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 sale or transaction.

Any person who willfully fails to comply with this section with respect to any consumer is liable for "any actual damages sustained by the consumer as a result of the failure or damages not less than $100 and not more than $1000." 15 U.S.C. § 1681n(a)(1)(A).

In this case, each of the named Plaintiffs in this putative class action alleges that he shopped at a Jewel supermarket in Illinois in April or May 2007 (after the December 2006 statutory deadline to comply with § 1681c(g)), made purchases using a credit card, and received a computer-generated receipt which displayed the card's expiration date. Plaintiff Cicilline alleges that on two separate occasions, April 21, 2007 and April 30, 2007, he received from Jewel Food Stores, Inc's location at 1224 S. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois, a computer-generated receipt that displayed his credit card expiration date. Plaintiff Batterson alleges that on April 8, 2007, he received from Jewel Food Stores, Inc's location at 13200 Village Green Drive, Huntley, Illinois, a computer-generated receipt that displayed his credit card expiration date. And Plaintiff Iosello alleges that on two separate occasions, April 25, 2007 and May 1, 2007, he received from Jewel Food Stores, Inc's location at 6509 West Grand Avenue, Gurnee, Illinois, a computer-generated receipt that displayed his credit card expiration date. Plaintiffs contend that Jewel should not have printed those expiration dates on their receipts because § 1681c(g) requires deletion of that data on all receipts printed after December 4, 2006. Plaintiffs seek certification of a class consisting of [A]ll consumers to [whom] defendant Jewel Food Stores, Inc. provided an electronically printed receipt at the point of sale or transaction, in a transaction occurring in Illinois after the applicable effective date of FACTA, which receipt displays either (a) more than the last five digits of the consumer's credit card or debit card number; (b) the expiration date of the consumer's credit or debit card; and/or (c) both.

Plaintiffs also request that the Court appoint counsel for all three Plaintiffs as counsel for the class.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff seeking class certification has the burden of proving that "(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a); Matthews v. United Retail, Inc., 2008 WL 618960, at *2 (N.D. Ill. March 5, 2008). Failure to satisfy any of these requirements defeats a motion for class certification. Retired Chicago Police Ass'n v. City of Chicago, 7 F.3d 584, 596 (7th Cir. 1993). If all four prongs of Rule 23(a) are met, the potential class also must satisfy one of the provisions of Rule 23(b). Rosario v. Livaditis, 963 F.2d 1013, 1017 (7th Cir. 1992). Plaintiffs seek certification under Rule 23(b)(3), which requires a plaintiff to demonstrate "that questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy." Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3). The Court exercises broad discretion in determining whether class certification is appropriate given the particular facts of the case. Keele v. Wexler, 149 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 1998); Murray v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 232 F.R.D. 295, 298 (N.D. Ill. 2005).

For purposes of deciding the certification question, the Court does not presume that all well-pleaded allegations are true. Szabo v. Bridgeport Machs., Inc., 249 F.3d 672, 676-77 (7th Cir. 2001). Rather, the district court should "look[ ] beneath the surface of a complaint to conduct the inquiries identified in [Rule 23] and exercise the discretion it confers." Id. at 677. Nevertheless, the Court does not delve into the merits of the ultimate issues in the case, which do not affect the question of class certification under Rule 23. See Harris v. Circuit City Stores, Inc., 2008 WL 400862, at *3-4 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 7, 2008); Lau v. Arrow Fin. Servs., LLC, 245 F.R.D. 620, 623 (N.D. Ill. 2007); Levie v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 496 F.Supp.2d 944, 946-47 (N.D. Ill. 2007); Hyderi v. Washington Mut. Bank, FA, 235 F.R.D. 390, 395 (N.D. Ill. 2006); Cavin v. Home Loan Center, Inc., 236 F.R.D. 387, 395 (N.D. Ill. 2006). Accordingly, this Court does not consider the parties' arguments as to whether Jewel's alleged violation of FACTA was willful. See also Matthews, 2008 WL 618960, at *3.

B. Rule 23(a) ...


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