United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO REMAND
HONORABLE ANDRÉ BIROTTE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT
the Court is Plaintiffs Scott Edelstein
(“Edelstein”) and Steven Brooks'
“Plaintiffs”) Motion to Remand Action to State
Court (hereinafter, “Mot., ” Dkt. No. 11).
Defendant Westlake Wellbeing Properties (“Westlake
Properties”) filed an opposition and Plaintiffs filed a
reply. The Court heard oral argument on November 3, 2017. For
the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
Scott Edelstein is a resident of New York. (First Amended
Complaint (“FAC, ” Dkt. No. 10”) ¶ 1.)
Plaintiff Steven Brooks is a resident of Thousand Oaks,
California. (FAC ¶ 2.) Defendant Westlake Properties is
a Delaware limited liability company with a principal place
of business in Westlake Village, California. (FAC ¶ 3.)
Westlake Properties owns the Four Seasons Westlake Village
(“Westlake Four Seasons”). (FAC ¶ 3.)
Defendant Four Seasons Hotel (“Four Seasons”) is
a Canada corporation that manages more than thirty hotels and
resorts across the United States, including the Westlake Four
Seasons. (FAC ¶ 4.)
2017, Edelstein used his MasterCard credit card to pay for
his stay at the Westlake Four Seasons. (FAC ¶ 10.)
Defendants provided him with a printed receipt for his
payment. (FAC ¶ 10.) The printed receipt that Defendants
provided Edelstein contained more than the last five digits
of the credit card account number and the card's
expiration date. (FAC ¶ 10.) That same year, Brooks used
his Visa credit card to pay for his stay at the Westlake Four
Seasons. (FAC ¶ 11.) Defendants provided him with a
printed receipt for his payment. (FAC ¶ 11.) The printed
receipt Brooks received contained more than the last five
digits of the credit card account number and the credit card
expiration date. (FAC ¶ 11.) Plaintiffs allege that
beginning on January 1, 2015, if not earlier, through at
least April 2017, Defendants have provided credit card and
debit card receipts that contained more than the last five
digits of the account number and the card expiration date
through machines that were provided to customers at the point
of sale. (FAC ¶ 12.) Plaintiffs allege that the receipts
Defendants provided violate the Fair and Accurate Credit
Transactions Act (“FACTA”), 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1681, et seq., and assert their claim
as a putative class action.
removed this action from state court to this Court on
September 1, 2017. (See Dkt. No. 1, Defendants'
Notice of Removal.) On September 28, 2017, Plaintiffs filed
their First Amended Complaints alleging a violation of FACTA
on behalf of the individual Plaintiffs and all those
similarly situated. (See FAC.) On October 3, 2017,
Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Remand, arguing that they
lack Article III standing to pursue their claim in federal
court, so it must proceed in state court.
bring suit in federal court, a party must meet the standing
requirements of Article III of the Constitution. Standing
“limits the category of litigants empowered to maintain
a lawsuit in federal court to seek redress for a legal
wrong.” Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct.
1540, 1547 (2016). The “irreducible
constitutional minimum” of standing consists of three
elements. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S.
555, 560 (1992). “The plaintiff must have (1) suffered
an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the
challenged conduct of the defendant, and, (3) that is likely
to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”
Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1547. “The plaintiff, as
the party invoking federal jurisdiction, bears the burden of
establishing these elements.” Id.
argument in favor of remand is based on a lack of Article III
standing. (See Mot.) Plaintiffs argue that the
Supreme Court's opinion in Spokeo, Inc v. Robins
in conjunction with the Ninth Circuit's opinion in
Robins v. Spokeo, Inc. compels the finding that
there is no injury-in-fact in this case. (Mot. at 5-7.) The
Spokeo, the plaintiff sued Spokeo for violations of
the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) based on
Spokeo's online publication of incorrect information
about him including his education level, socioeconomic
status, age, and marital status. Robins v. Spokeo,
Inc., 867 F.3d 1108, 1117 (9th Cir. 2017) (Spokeo
II). The District Court dismissed his action for lack of
standing, specifically, that he had failed to plead an
injury-in-fact. Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., 742 F.3d
409, 411 (9th Cir. 2014) (Spokeo I). The Ninth
Circuit reversed, holding that Robins had alleged sufficient
injury to establish standing. Spokeo I, 742 F.3d at
413. The Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit's
decision and remanded the case, directing the Ninth Circuit
to specifically consider whether Robins had alleged a
sufficiently concrete injury. Spokeo, 136
S.Ct. at 1550. While acknowledging that Congress retains the
power to “elevat[e] to the status of legally cognizable
injuries concrete, de facto injuries that were
previously inadequate in law, ” the Court emphasized
that Congress's elevation of intangible harms does not
mean that a plaintiff automatically satisfies the
injury-in-fact requirement whenever a statute grants an
individual a statutory right and then authorizes suit on
behalf of any person. Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1549.
“Article III standing requires a concrete injury even
in the context of a statutory violation.” Id.
“A bare procedural violation” is not sufficient,
in the absence of concrete harm, to satisfy the
injury-in-fact requirement. Id.
Court then explained that a risk of real harm could satisfy
the concreteness requirement. Id. The law has often
recognized that risk of intangible harms merits recovery as
evidenced by the existence of torts like libel or slander
per se. Id. Thus, the Court did not exclude
the possibility that a statutory violation, as articulated by
Congress, may by itself be sufficient to satisfy the
concreteness requirement. Id. However, this will not
always be the case. Id. In the Court's opinion,
this was not the case with the FCRA. Id. at 1550.
remand, the Ninth Circuit sought to fashion a test for
concreteness in light of the Supreme Court's analysis.
Spokeo II, 867 F.3d at 1113. The test the court
adopted is two-pronged: (1) whether the statutory provisions
at issue were established to protect his concrete interest
(as opposed to purely procedural rights), and if so, (2)
whether the specific procedural violations alleged in this
case actually harm, or present a material risk of harm to,
such interests. Id. The court found that by enacting
the FCRA, Congress sought to protect a concrete interest, not
simply a procedural right, because of the well-known risks
involved in the publication of incorrect consumer reports.
Id. at 1114. It then went on to find that Robins
faced a material ...