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Drametta Todd, Individually and On Behalf of A Class v. Target Corporation

March 30, 2012

DRAMETTA TODD, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TARGET CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Edmond E. Chang

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Drametta Todd brought this lawsuit against Defendant Target Corporation for violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act amendment, 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g), to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.*fn1 Target moved for summary judgment. R. 42. For the following reasons, the Court denies Target's motion.

I.

In deciding the summary judgment motion, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to Todd. On July 17, 2010, Todd shopped at a Target store in Cicero, Illinois, and paid for her items using a credit card and a debit card (in other words, she spread the total payment over the two cards). R. 43, Def's Stmt. of Facts (DSOF) ¶ 10. Following the transaction, the clerk working the cash register handed two receipts to Todd. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. One was a customer receipt that omitted information about her credit card expiration date. Id. ¶ 11. The other (which Target calls a "sales audit copy" or a "merchant copy") included her cardexpiration date. Id. ¶ 12.

On August 7, 2010, Todd shopped at another Target store in Chicago. Id. ¶ 13. This time, she used three separate methods for paying for her items: cash, credit card, and debit card. Id. After the transaction, Todd once again received two receipts: one with her credit card expiration redacted, and another with the expiration date displayed. Id. ¶ 14-15.

Target denies that two copies of "receipts"-the key statutory term, as explained below-were given to Todd. Instead, Target asserts that the second copy-with the expiration date displayed-was a merchant copy that was never meant to be provided to the customer. DSOF ¶ 16. According to Target, customers who receive merchant copies are instructed to sign their name and return the copy to the clerk. Id. Merchant copies are printed only when the cardholder either leaves the signature box on the electronic PIN-pad blank or when the cardholder specifically requests a signature transaction.*fn2 Id. In both situations, Target prints a receipt to be handed to the customer and also prints a sales audit copy (that it takes back from the customer after it is signed) for Target's own records because some credit card and debit card networks require merchants to retain that information. Id. ¶ 18.

After receiving the print-outs showing her credit card expiration dates, Todd filed this lawsuit, alleging that Target violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) amendment of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Target has filed a motion for summary judgment, [R.42], which is now fully briefed before the Court. (Despite the general admonition in Rule 23 that class certification should be decided as early as practicable in a case, the parties proposed pursuing a decision on the merits before litigating class certification, and the Court agreed to allow the parties to do so. R. 31.)

II.

Summary judgment must be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Rule 56 "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). All facts, and any inferences to be drawn from them, must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Wis. Cent., Ltd. v. Shannon, 539 F.3d 751, 756 (7th Cir. 2008).

III.

To succeed in its summary judgment motion, Target must demonstrate that (1) it did not provide Todd with a receipt that displayed the expiration date or (2) if it did, Target did not willfully violate the FACTA amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Court will address each of these issues in turn.

A.

Congress enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1970 to ensure fair and accurate credit reporting, promote efficiency in the banking system, and protect consumer privacy. See 84 Stat. 1128, 15 U.S.C. § 1681. In 2003, Congress amended the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., by enacting FACTA. See Pub. L. No. 108--159, 117 Stat. 1952 (2003). FACTA, which was enacted to prevent identity theft, prohibits merchants from printing ...


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