Welcome to CR-CL’s Ames Live Blog! Tonight is night one of the Ames Semi-Finals!
The Ames Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for appellate brief writing and advocacy in the country. The students participating in the Semi-Final Round started the competition in fall of this year, and rose to the final four spots through their strong research abilities and excellent written and oral advocacy.
March 8 – Chen v. Harkness Sporting Goods, Inc. (March 8, 6:15pm)
It’s Article III standing day at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ames Circuit! The plaintiffs in this case allege violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act’s (FACTA) truncation requirement, which seeks to prevent identity theft by prohibiting merchants who accept credit and debit cards from printing too much of a customer’s card information on receipts. See 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g)(1). Here, the plaintiffs accuse Harkness Sporting Goods of printing all sixteen digits of credit card numbers on receipts, and seek statutory damages on behalf of a putative class of Harkness customers. Harkness won in the district court that the case must be dismissed for lack of Article III jurisdiction. The plaintiffs’ appeal presents two questions.
- First, unbeknownst to her lawyers, plaintiff Mary Chen died before the complaint was filed, and so there was no plaintiff with Article III standing at the commencement of the case. When counsel learned of the issue, she found another plaintiff, Krishna Reddy, who moved to be substituted as the named plaintiff. The first question on appeal is whether, when the named plaintiff lacks Article III standing, a court can cure the defect by allowing a substitute plaintiff who has standing. Some federal courts say “yes,” while others say that the suit is a “nullity” that must be dismissed without prejudice.
- Second, whether the alleged violation of FACTA constitutes an Article III injury in fact. In a case arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that a mere statutory violation, standing alone, cannot create Article III standing; there must be some additional concrete harm to the plaintiff. See TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190, 2204-05 (2021). Federal courts are divided over whether and when violations of FACTA’s truncation requirement result in concrete harm. Some hold that the mere printing of extra credit card numbers is not enough. Others hold that a high enough risk of identity theft (e.g., when a receipt includes all the digits and the expiration date) is sufficient.
Hon. Michael Garcia, New York Court of Appeals
Hon. Nancy Gertner (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Hon. Patti Saris, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
The Surjit Singh Memorial Team (Appellant)
Dylan Hosmer-Quint *
Annalise Wagner *
The Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial Team (Appellee)
Sami Ilagan *
Niko Paladino *
Please tune in starting at 6:00 EST!