On Friday, July 7, 2017, a group of Hyatt customers asked a Florida Federal judge for class certification for their suit against the hotel chain for a potential violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (“FACTA”). Plaintiffs claim that Hyatt printed too much information on their credit card receipts during their stays at Hyatt hotels.The lead plaintiff, Carlos Guarisma, filed the proposed class action complaint back in early March after a stay at the Hyatt Regency Miami. He used his personal Visa credit card to pay for his room and was then provided with a receipt that printed the first six and last four digits of his credit card number, and the expiration date. In the suit Guarisma cites to a provision of FACTA to back his case that expressly requires that this type of sensitive information be “masked to prevent it from falling into the hands of identity thieves.”
In their argument for class certification, the group is asserting that multiple courts have certified FACTA suits with a strong likeness to their own. Specifically, the motion cited a ruling that came from the Southern District of Florida, Legg v. Spirit Airlines Inc., which also consisted of numerous plaintiffs and small claims for statutory damages. Consumer protections found under FACTA were systematically compromised in this case as well and the judge ruled accordingly. Spirit ultimately had to pay $7.5M in damages to remediate the harm it had inflicted upon its customers by exposing their credit card information.
The motion itself states, “As in Legg, this case arose because defendant’s violation of FACTA was systematic… Hyatt allowed its computerized credit card processing software to print receipts that display the card expiration date plus the first six and last four digits of the credit or debit card number…”
However, on May 22nd Hyatt filed a motion for a judgement on the pleadings arguing that it doesn’t own or control the Hyatt Regency Miami where Guarisma received the compromising receipt so they should be removed from the suit. U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro denied their motion, but Guarisma then admitted that he sued the wrong party and voluntarily agreed to file an amended complaint after conferring with Hyatt. In place of Hyatt Corp., Hyatt Equities LLC will now be in the legal hot seat for this FACTA suit. Even with Hyatt LLC denying most of the class’s complaints, the class will be suing for both statutory and punitive damages.
The case is Guarisma v. Hyatt Equities LLC, case number 1:17-cv-20931, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
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