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Hendrick v. Aramark Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 19, 2017

JOEL HENDRICK, individually and as a representative of all other persons similarly situated Plaintiff
v.
ARAMARK CORPORATION, et al . Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION INTRODUCTION

          NITZA I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, J.

         Presently before this Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants[1] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), in which they seek dismissal of the single claim asserted against them by Plaintiff Joel Hendrick (“Plaintiff”), under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. [ECF 15]. Plaintiff has opposed the motion. [ECF 17]. The issues raised in the motion to dismiss have been fully briefed by the parties[2] and are now ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         On July 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants in which he asserts a single claim for violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”), 15 U.S.C. 1681c(g)(1). [ECF 1]. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated FACTA when a store they operated gave him a receipt, following a purchase of a soft drink, which displayed ten digits of his credit card number. Plaintiff also purports to assert this claim on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals.

         On September 23, 2016, Defendants filed the underlying motion to dismiss in which they argue that Plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to establish Article III standing because he has not alleged facts sufficient to show an actual injury-in-fact. [ECF 15]. When ruling on Defendants' motion to dismiss, this Court must accept, as true, all relevant and pertinent factual allegations in the amended complaint and construe these facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Succinctly, the allegations are that:

On April 1, 2016, Plaintiff Joel Hendrick purchased a drink refill using his credit card at the Stewart's Corner, located on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Comp. ¶¶24, 40). The store was operated by Defendants. (Id. at ¶23). At the point of sale, Plaintiff was given a paper receipt for the transaction that contained ten digits of his credit card number, which Plaintiff alleges violated the FACTA. (Id. at ¶¶23, 40). A copy of the paper receipt was attached to the complaint as Exhibit A. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that this FACTA violation “exposed [him] to at least an increased risk of identity theft . . . .” (Id. at ¶44).

         LEGAL STANDARD

         As stated, Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(1) on the basis that Plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to establish Article III standing, and under Rule 12(b)(6) for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. “A motion to dismiss for want of standing is . . . properly brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), because standing is a jurisdictional matter.” Constitution Party of Pa. v. Aichele, 757 F.3d 347, 357 (3d Cir. 2014). Rule 12(b)(1) challenges may be either facial or factual challenges. Id. A facial challenge asserts that the complaint does not allege sufficient grounds to establish subject matter jurisdiction. Id. Where a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is filed prior to an answer, as is the case here, it will be considered a facial challenge to jurisdiction. Id. at 358. When considering such a facial challenge, a court must apply the same standard of review that would apply on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Id. As such, well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and reasonable inferences are drawn in the plaintiff's favor. Id. The complaint will be dismissed for lack of standing only if it appears that the plaintiff will not be able to assert a colorable claim of subject matter jurisdiction. Cardio-Med. Assocs., Ltd. v. Crozer-Chester Med. Ctr., 721 F.2d 68, 75 (3d Cir. 1983).

         A court may grant a motion to dismiss an action under Rule 12(b)(6) if the complaint “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must “accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions.” Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210-11. The court must determine “whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a ‘plausible claim for relief.'” Id. at 211 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)). The complaint must do more than merely allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief: it must “show such an entitlement with its facts.” Id. (citations omitted).

         To determine the sufficiency of a complaint, “a court . . . must take three steps.” Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016); to wit: a court must (1) “tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim;” (2) identify allegations that are merely legal conclusions “because they . . . are not entitled to the assumption of truth;” and (3) assume the veracity of all well-pleaded factual allegations and “then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679). While a complaint need not assert detailed factual allegations, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         A court may determine that a complaint's factual allegations are plausible if the court is able “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)) (alterations in original). In other words, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to ‘nudge [his] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.'” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “Although the plausibility standard ‘does not impose a probability requirement, ' it does require a pleading to show ‘more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.'” Connelly, 809 F.3d at 786 (citations omitted). Reviewing the plausibility of the complaint is a “context-specific” inquiry and requires a court to “draw on its experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663-64.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff's complaint purports to assert a violation of FACTA which allegedly occurred when Defendants gave him an electronically printed receipt that showed ten digits of his credit card number. Though Defendants do not dispute these facts (nor could they at this motion to dismiss stage), they argue that Plaintiff has not alleged facts sufficient to establish that he has Article III standing to maintain his claim. This Court agrees.

         FACTA was enacted in 2003 as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq. FACTA prohibits retailers who accept credit or debit cards from “print[ing] 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.” Id. at §1681c(g)(1). In enacting FACTA, Congress was attempting to combat identity theft by reducing the personal data printed on credit and debit card receipts. Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, Pub. L. No. 108-159, 117 Stat. 1952 (2003); S. Rep. No. 108-166, at 13 (2003). Those violating FACTA may be liable under the two-tiered system of liability set forth in the FCRA. See 15 U.S.C. ...


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