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Hotel guest credit card receipts: Expiration date in violation?

Hotel guest credit card receipts: Expiration date in violation?

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In this week’s article, we examine the case of Bouton v. Ocean Properties, Ltd., 2016 WL 7324145 (S.D. Fla. 2016) in which “Plaintiff Justin Bouton…brings a (class action) lawsuit against Defendants for their alleged violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)…Plaintiff alleges that on or about March 9, 2016, he used his Visa credit card to pay for his stay at the (Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa (‘Jupiter Resort’)) and that ‘upon checking out of the hotel Plaintiff was provided with an electronically printed receipt generated from a point of sale terminal device, bearing the expiration date of his credit card’. Plaintiff claims that ‘[i]t is Defendants’ policy and procedure to issue an electronically printed receipt to individuals at the point of sale…and that ‘Defendants knowingly and intentionally includes the expiration date of the credit card on its electronically printed receipts (and) Defendants’ conduct was in willful and reckless disregard for federal law and the rights of the Plaintiff’. Plaintiff brings one count against Defendants for violation of 15 U.S.C. 1681(c)(g) (FACTA) (and seeks) statutory damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs”. Defendants move to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint which motion is denied.

Terror Targets Update

Edmonton, Canada

In IS flag found after ‘terrorist’ rampage in Canada: 1 officer, 4 civilians injured, travelwirenews (10/1/2017) it was noted that “A police officer was stabbed Saturday evening near the Commonwealth stadium in Edmonton. Canada. The attacker fled the scene on foot, triggering a huge manhunt and high-speed chase. Police have confirmed they are treating it as an act of terrorism”.

Moscow, Russia

In Russian security services bust Daesh cell in Moscow, travelwirenews (10/2/2017) it was noted that “Russia’s intelligence agency (FSB) on Monday said it had arrested members of a Daesh group ‘cell’ which had been preparing terror attacks. The FSB said is a statement it had ‘thwarted the illegal activities of…the international terrorist organization Daesh’ on September 30, by detaining all members of a cell in the Moscow region”.

Marseille, France

In ISIS claims responsibility for Marseille knife attack that killed two people, travelwirenews (10/1/2017) it was noted that “(ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the deadly knife attack which left two women dead at a train station in Marseille Sunday. The message, via its propaganda channel allegedly says the attack was staged in retaliation against the US-led Coalition countries which are fighting against the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq”.

Damascus, Syria

In Twin suicide attack at Damascus police station leaves several dead-report, travelwirenews (10/2/2017) it was noted that “Two suicide bombers attacked a police station in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday…killing more than 10 people. State media said earlier that a ‘terrorist explosion’ struck the al-Midan neighborhood in Damascus”.

Woman Raped At Plaza Hotel

In Grant, Woman Raped at Plaza Hotel by Saudi Prince’s Helper Awarded $2.25M, New York Law Journal (10/12/2017) it was noted that “A former bartender drugged and raped inside the Plaza Hotel by a member of a Saudi prince’s entourage was awarded $1.25 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages by a federal judge on Tuesday…writing that ‘the sexual violence committed by the defendant undeniably constitutes morally reprehensible or utterly reckless behavior’. ’The defendant’s conduct is made even more objectionable based on his belief that his relationship to the Prince of Saudi Arabia would keep him out of the reach of the law, as evidenced by his remark [after the rape] that the plaintiff, ‘Go ahead, call the police’”.

No Fireworks In New Delhi, Please

In Kumar, Indian Court Chooses Clean Air Over Fireworks for a Festival, nytimes (10/12/2017) it was noted that “For generations, millions of Indians in New Delhi…have celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, by setting off a symphony of fireworks…But amid concerns about poisonous air quality in New Delhi-stemming, in part from the use of fireworks…India’s Supreme Court this week reinstated a ban on the sale of fireworks in the National Capital Region”. Bravo.

California On Fire

In Fuller & Perez-Pena, California Fires Burn ‘Faster Than Firefighters Can Run’, nytimes (10/11/2017) it was noted that “Hundreds of sleep-deprived, stubble-faced firefighters, their yellow coats layered with soot, assembled Wednesday to hear what their commanders say what they already knew: The fires that have devastated California’s wine country were still spreading…The fires have killed at least 29 people…Statewide, there were 21 major fires burning on Thursday, having consumed more than 190,000 acres since the outbreak”.

Recovery Island By Island

In Rosenbloom, The Recovery Process: Caribbean Tourism, Island by Island, nytimes (10/13/2017) it was noted that “After an unforgiving start to the hurricane season, some idyllic Caribbean destinations are in the midst of a slow and arduous recovery that may take months, even years, while others are ready-or nearly ready-for the all-important holiday travel season”.

No Visas For Turkish Citizens

In Gall, Turkish President Erdogan Blames U.S. Ambassador for Visa Row, nytimes (10/10/2017) it was noted that “Turkish officials assailed the United States on Tuesday for its decision to suspend visas for Turkish citizens, defending their right to detain American Embassy employees they accused of spying and blaming the American ambassador for the diplomatic dispute”.

Hyatt Hotels Card Data Breach

In Ajimera, Hyatt Hotels discovers card data breach at 41 properties, msn (10/12/2017) it was noted that “Hyatt Hotels said Thursday it discovered unauthorized access to payment card information at certain Hyatt-managed locations worldwide between March 18 and July 2. Hyatt said the incident affected payment card information, such as, cardholder name, card number, expiration date and internal verification code, from cards manually entered or swiped at the front desk of certain Hyatt-managed locations”.

No-Tipping Movement Sued

In Filloon, Danny Meyer, David Chang, Others Sued Over No-Tipping ‘Conspiracy’, eater (10/11/2017) it was noted that “The no-tipping movement has widely been praised as a way to improve the lives of restaurant workers, but a new lawsuit claims restaurant owners are really the ones profiting from zero-gratuity policies. A proposed class-action lawsuit filed in California federal court names several Bay Area and New York restaurants…The suit argues that restaurant owners…colluded to establish no-tipping policies in ‘secret meetings’ and that the real aim of such policies was to line their own pockets by raising menu prices. According to the suit: ‘The ongoing conspiracy unlawfully transfers millions of dollars from customers and servers to restaurant owners in violation of federal and state antitrust laws”. Stay tuned.

Hidden Booking Fees Alleged

In Rizzi, Reservations Hit With Class Action Over Allegedly Hidden Booking Fees, class action (10/9/2017) it was noted that “The lawsuit centers around the defendant’s alleged practice of charging a hidden $14.99 fee for each hotel room booked and its cancellation policy, which the complaint describes as deceptive”. Stay tuned.

Flying Planes In A Warmer World

In Ives, In a Warming World, Keeping the Planes Running, nytimes (9/30/2017) it was noted that “Airports are a major global business, part of an industry that by one estimate transports the equivalent of nearly half the world’s population in a single year. But the world’s airports were largely designed for an older era-a cooler one. Many were built near seacoasts or river deltas to minimize disturbances to humans…Others have short runways…Climate change is making airport planners think again. Low-lying airports may become increasingly vulnerable to storm surges. Hotter temperatures may cause tarmac to melt, restrict takeoff weights and require heavier aircraft to take off later in the day…Keeping the industry aloft requires colossal investment-$1.1 trillion in airport infrastructure”.

No Hip Touching, Please

In British man could still face Dubai jail for ‘touching man’s hip’ despite allegations being dropped, travelwirenews (10/12/2017) it was noted that “A British man facing three years in jail over alleged public indecency while at a nightclub in Dubai is still being prosecuted under ‘typical laws’-despite the claimant dropping the allegations”.

Uber Tops Taxis

In Hu, Uber, Surging Outside Manhattan, Tops Taxis in New York City, nytimes (10/12/2017) it was noted that “Taxi or Uber? It is not even a question for Samantha Forrest, 22, a single mother who sees so few taxis that she does not consider them an option…Uber has deployed thousands of black cars across Manhattan, going bumper-to-bumper with yellow taxis for passengers and fares in lucrative commercial and tourist areas. But the ride-hail app has increasingly shifted its focus to the city’s other four boroughs, where frustration over subway overcrowding and delays and fewer taxi options have made it the ride of choice for many. As a result, Uber is booming in the other boroughs, with half of all Uber rides now starting outside Manhattan…Uber has showered the boroughs with ‘neighborhood love’ promotions such as free rides, $5 car pools within each borough and free pizza just for showing the Uber app…For many passengers, though, the bottom line is that Uber gets them where they need to go”.

Uber Getting Ready To Go Public

In Benner & Isaac, Uber’s Board Approves Changes to Reshape Company’s Power Balance, nytimes (10/3/2017) it was noted that “Uber’s board of directors voted Tuesday for governance changes that will reshape the balance of power for the ride-hailing service, paving the way for a stock sale to the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and for the company to go public by 2019…As a result, the clout of certain Uber shareholders-including, most significantly, its former chief executive, Travis Kalanick…will be reduced…Other proposed measures, including one that would have posed a hurdle to Mr. Kalanick’s returning as chief executive, were dropped before the meeting. Still, the board approved enough changes for Uber to move forward on an investment from SoftBank…directors approved a resolution to go public by 2019″.

Uber Criminal Probes

In Newcomer, Uber faces at least 2 more criminal probes in US, msn (10/11/2017) it was noted that “U.S. officials are looking into possible bribes, illicit software, questionable pricing schemes and theft of a competitor’s intellectual property…Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department-two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December”.

Uber’s Ban In London Raises Questions

In Bennhold, London’s Uber Ban Raises Questions on Race and Immigration, nytimes (10/3/2017) it was noted that “The shock decision last month to strip Uber of its London license has been rippling across the British capital, animating conversations at all layers of London life-about Uber’s convenient and cheap service in a market long dominated by iconic but pricey black cabs; about the company’s flawed track record in corporate governance; and about the kind of capitalism Britain wants after the ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the European Union. But at the street level, the city was buzzing with more uncomfortable questions…Most (of Uber’s drivers in London) are nonwhite and many of them immigrants, something which has sharpened the racial divisions in the working class at a time which incomes at the bottom are squeezed and the city’s post Brexit future is still uncertain…On the left, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, who is himself the son of an immigrant bus driver, applauded the license decision as a victory for ‘passenger safety’, aligning himself with black-cab drivers who are mostly British, white and right leaning”.

Uber & Visa In Kenya

In Uber and Visa announce Kenya strategic agreement, travelwirenews (10/2/2017) it was noted that “Under the agreement, Visa will work with its financial institution partners to set up their debit and credit portfolios for eCommerce. This will enable faster adoption of digital payments in the region, new revenue streams for banks and merchants and create the platform for market leading digital companies like Uber…The Uber/Visa partnership will ensure riders have more flexibility to pay in the way they are comfortable”.

Swim In Lake Erie, Anyone?

In Patel & Parshina-Kottas, Miles of Algae Covering Lake Erie, nytimes (10/3/2017), it was noted that “A potentially harmful algae bloom covered more than 700 square miles in the western basis of Lake Erie last week, turning the lake bright green and alarming residents and local officials. Scientists say the algae blooms have been a growing problem for Lake Erie since the 2000s, mostly because of the extensive use of fertilizer on the region’s farmland. The algae blooms contain cyanobacteria, which under certain conditions, can produce toxins that contaminate drinking water and cause harm to the local ecosystem”.

Make My KFC Crispy, Please

In Searcey & Richtel, Obesity Was Rising as Ghana Embraced Fast Food. The Came KFC, nytimes (10/3/2017) it was noted that “Mr. Awaitey, first learned about the fried chicken chain on Facebook. The ‘finger lickin’ good’ slogan caught his attention and it has lived up to expectations. ‘The food is just—‘ he said, raising his fingertips to his mouth and smacking his lips. ‘When you taste it, you feel good’. Ghana, a coastal African country of more than 28 million still etched with pockets of extreme poverty has enjoyed unprecedented national prosperity in the last decade, buoyed by offshore oil…Chief among the corporate players is KFC and its parent company, YUM!, which have muscled northward from South Africa-where KFC has about 850 outlets-throughout sub-Saharan Africa…The company brings the flavors that have made it popular in the West, seasoned with an intangible: the symbolic association of fast food with rich nations”.

Spain To Catalonia: Are You In Or Out?

In Minder, Spain Asks Catalonia: Did You Declare Independence or Not?, nytimes (10/11/2017) it was noted that “Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain took a tentative step on Wednesday toward seizing administrative control of Catalonia, but he asked the region’s leader to first clarify whether he had actually declared independence from the rest of the country…Pending a response…Mr. Rajoy said he was initiating a request for his government to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution (which) would allow Madrid to suspend Catalan lawmakers and take charge of the region’s autonomous administration”.

UK Tourist Habits In Spain

In Typical UK tourist habits in Spain revealed, travelwirenews (10/2/2017) it was noted that “Brits travelling to Spain reached peak numbers this summer with 2.3 million visiting in August and spent L2,000 every hour. Latest infographic reveals what British tourists get up to on their Spanish holiday…No-one would be surprised by the choice of Spain as the most popular holiday destination for Brits…Extrapolating…the habits of the average Brit abroad over the months and years, resulted in some fun comparisons (1) Brits have taken over 800 million tea bags in our luggage and made enough cuppas to fill one million bathtubs…(2) Our sandcastle building habits have used 2.5 billion cubic meters of sand-enough to recreate the Great Pyramid of Giza…(3)A must-have purchase is an inflatable lilo with this year’s seeing a craze for unicorns and flamingo. Stretched out, these inflatable floaters would stretch 738,000 miles…(4)Sun protection is a holiday essential and with guidelines stating we should apply a shot glass worth of sunscreen per application, we have gone through 79 million liters of suntan lotion-enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall”.

Monarch Airlines Goes Bust

In Monarch Airlines folds, leaving 110,000 travelers grounded, cbsnews (10/2/2017) it was noted that “British authorities are scrambling to bring home 110,000 travelers after Monarch Airlines collapsed Monday, cancelling all flights by what had been Britain’s fifth largest carrier…Monarch Chief Executive Andrew Swaffield said the airline’s troubles stemmed from recent terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia and the ‘decimation’ of the tourist trade in Turkey”.

Stop The Drownings, Please

In Ignorance, disregard for water travel safety measures are to blame for most incidents, travelwirenews (10/1/2017) it was noted that “There are more than 40 deaths from drowning worldwide every day, according to World Health Organization (WHO). Unfortunately, this silent killer has been neglected. ‘Whether it is children slipping unnoticed into a pool, swimming under the influence of alcohol, passengers on vessels that capsize or residents of coastal communities struck by floods, the daily toll of this leading global killer continues its quiet ride’, Dr. Chan said”.

Travel Law Case Of The Week

In the Bouton case the Court noted that in its prior Order granting (Defendant) OPL’s motion to dismiss, the Court rejected OPL’s arguments that Plaintiff (1) lacked standing to bring suit, having failed to allege an actual injury or that he suffered actual damages; (2) had fatally failed to attach the receipt at issue to his complaint and that (3) (he) failed to state a claim because Plaintiff did not adequately allege (a) where or how he received the allegedly nonconforming receipt; and (b) that OPL acted willfully…The Court reaffirms its holding that Plaintiff states a claim under the FACTA provided that (Plaintiff) sufficiently alleges OPL’s relationship to the Jupiter Resort”.

Must Allege Control Of Resort

“It is axiomatic that a FACTA complaint must adequately allege that the listed Defendant is liable for the alleged wrong. In its prior Order, the Court recognized that Plaintiff had referenced but insufficiently plead ‘that Defendant is jointly liable, or liable based on theories of direct, vicarious or instrumental liability in OPL’s control or affiliation with other entities’. The Court then allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to amend (his Complaint)…to plead facts sufficient to establish Defendant’s operation or ownership of the Resort”.

OPL’s Alleged Control Of Resort

“Plaintiff pleads that ‘OPL developed the hotel in 2005 and thereafter’ established (Defendant) entities Oprock Fee, Oprock TRS and GHM ‘to own and jointly manage that hotel property’. Plaintiff claims that OPL continues to ‘staff [] the hotels with individuals it recruits and employs, including those individuals who are responsible for generating point of sale receipts, such as front desk agents and bartenders’. Plaintiff also again pleads, based on information obtained from OPL’s alleged website and a brochure, that ‘OPL owns and operates the website which markets all of its hotel businesses, [reports] on its website that those businesses are ‘Ocean Properties, Ltd. Products and services’ and ‘refers to the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa as one of its resort and hotel offerings’…Plaintiff repeats his claims that public articles report that OPL ‘owns and operates’ the Jupiter Resort”.

Additional Allegations Of Control

“Plaintiff mow additionally claims that: (1) OPL ‘admits on its website that it jointly operates over 100 hotel properties, including the Jupiter Beach Resort, with its affiliated companies (e.g., Oprock Jupiter Fee, Oprock Jupiter TRS and GHM Jupiter), albeit the only legal entity mentioned in these representations is Ocean Properties, Ltd.’, (2) ‘OPL provides the central operation role to ‘Oprock Defendants and GHM, and ‘[t]o that end, OPL, publicly represents that its accounting and administrative functions, including those involved in generating FACTA violative receipts are ‘[c]entralized’ and ‘work []seamlessly together’ and (3) OPL publicly claims to ‘respect [] the privacy of all [its] guests, and…are committed to protecting it’ which includes guest ‘financial information (such as credit card number and expiration date, etc.)’”.

Pleadings Of OPL Control Sufficient

“Accordingly, the Court no longer finds Plaintiff’s claims insufficient. If Plaintiff can establish that OPL indeed operates the Jupiter Resort and is responsible for centralizing to Resort’s administrative operations ‘including those involved in generating FACTA violative receipts’ as Plaintiff alleges, Plaintiff may have a claim against OPL. Whether OPL is in fact a person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business within the meaning of FACTA [should] be determined at summary judgment or trial’…Specifically and drawing all plausible inferences in Plaintiff’s favor…the (Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint) indicates that OPL may be liable for the alleged FACTA violation…Plaintiff will have the burden to establish OPL’s liability spite of the ‘byzantine’ and ‘complex corporate structure’ alleged, at a later date”.

Conclusion

The Court also denied the dismissal motions of the remaining defendants noting, inter alia, that “The Court finds these (additional) allegations combined with Plaintiff’s claims at paragraphs 43-52 and a cursory review of the previously-considered public records, sufficient to plead Oprock Defendants and GHM’s liability”.

The author, Thomas A. Dickerson, is a retired Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department of the New York State Supreme Court and has been writing about Travel Law for 41 years including his annually updated law books, Travel Law, Law Journal Press (2016), Litigating International Torts in U.S. Courts, Thomson Reuters WestLaw (2016), Class Actions: The Law of 50 States, Law Journal Press (2016) and over 400 legal articles many of which are available at nycourts.gov/courts/9jd/taxcertatd.shtml. For additional travel law news and developments, especially, in the member states of the EU see IFTTA.org

This article may not be reproduced without the permission of Thomas A. Dickerson.

Read many of Justice Dickerson’s articles here.

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