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Date: 06-03-2022

Case Style:

Nancy Blanco v. Bath & Body Works, LLC

Case Number: 1:22-cv-01207

Judge: Marvin E. Aspen

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Cook County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Julie B. Porter

Description: Chicago, Illinois consumer law lawyer represented Plaintiffs, who sued Defendant on a Fair Credit Report Act violation theory.

Plaintiff Nancy Blanco filed a putative class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, alleging that Defendant Bath & Body Works, LLC (“Bath & Body Works”) violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”) by providing her with a receipt that did not properly truncate her debit card number. (Class Action Complaint (“Compl.”) (Dkt. No. 1-1) ¶¶ 1, 28.)[1] Bath & Body Works then removed the case to this court, asserting that we have federal question jurisdiction over the matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Dkt. No. 1 at 1, 3.) Blanco now seeks to remand the case back to state court for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (Motion to Remand Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) and Memorandum of Law in Support Thereof (“Motion to Remand”) (Dkt. No. 9) at 1.) She also seeks an award of the attorney's fees she incurred in challenging the removal.

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Bath & Body Works's argument also fails on the merits. Blanco alleges that her privacy was invaded when her account information was disclosed to Bath & Body Works “employees who handed her the receipt and to the extent that information was exposed to other patrons, employees, and/or potential identity thieves.” (See Compl. ¶ 31.) From this allegation, however, it does not necessarily follow that Blanco's privacy was invaded. Other courts have expressed skepticism at the idea that a customer is concretely harmed merely because an employee saw or had access to the customer's account number while checking the customer out. See, e.g., Keim v. Trader Joe's Co., Case No. 19-10156 PSG (MRWx), 2020 WL 564120, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 5, 2020) (“Even if Plaintiff alleged that the employee saw the receipt, ‘the Court is not convinced that such an allegation would in fact constitute an identifiable harm, given that the employee who handed the receipt presumably did so after Plaintiff voluntarily provided his credit card, where the expiration date was displayed (as well as all of the other financial information such as the credit card number and its security code), to the employee for processing.'”) (quoting Garcia v. Kahala Brands, LTD., No. CV 19-10062-GW-(JEMx), 2020 WL 256518, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 16, 2020)); Gesten v. Burger King Corp., Civil Action No. 17-22541-Civ-Scola, 2017 WL 4326101, at *5 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 27, 2017) (observing that the disclosure of credit card account information to Burger King employees did not amount to a disclosure of private information because the “disclosure” at issue was “no different than the ‘disclosure' that happens any time a consumer uses a credit card to pay for a transaction, ” and that “is not the type of harm that Congress identified in enacting FACTA”). Without additional allegations supporting the invasion of privacy, we cannot conclude that it was plausibly pled.

Outcome: For the reasons set forth below, we remand the case to the Circuit Court of Cook County but deny Blanco's request for attorney's fees.

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