Expedia Obtains Significant Ninth Circuit Victory in Consumer Class Action

On May 24, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action against Expedia, concluding for the first time that emailed receipts do not count as "electronically printed" receipts under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented Expedia in this matter.

A federal statute intended to protect consumer privacy, FACTA forbids businesses that accept credit or debit cards from printing more than the last five digits of a card number or a card's expiration date on an "electronically printed" receipt. In 2009, plaintiff Dimitriy Simonoff alleged that Expedia willfully had violated FACTA by emailing receipts to consumers that allegedly contained the expiration date of the consumers' credit cards. As a result, Simonoff claimed that the class was entitled to substantial statutory damages as compensation. In June 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington agreed with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's argument that FACTA does not apply to receipts that are provided to consumers via email, finding that FACTA's plain language, its statutory scheme, and its legislative history all required dismissal.

In affirming the district court's ruling, the Ninth Circuit's three-judge panel unanimously found that FACTA's language "simply leaves no room to doubt" that emailed receipts are not covered by the law. The court stated that the provisions of FACTA only extend to receipts printed on paper.

Please read the Ninth Circuit's opinion for more information.