Every once in a while, legislation is passed with good intent but, when read faithfully and enforced literally, the legislation can have unintended consequences. The most egregious examples in recent years are the “FCRA/FACTA class action cases.” Plaintiffs’ lawyers sought millions of dollars on behalf of consumers whose only “injury” was the inclusion of the month but not year of the expiration date of their credit cards on credit card receipts and other similar inconsequential statutory violations.
These were literal violations of a federal statute and consumer rights lawyers sued seeking millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of consumers for whom the literal violations had caused no harm of any kind to anyone ever.
Regular readers of Minnesota Litigator may recall that I have taken a strong position on what I view as similarly ridiculous litigation, on behalf of consumers who allege that ATM Fee Notices are insufficiently conspicuous on ATMs. Maybe common sense and good policy will ultimately prevail in these cases too?
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson (D. Minn.) has stayed the case brought by Minneapolis attorney Curtis Zaun on behalf of plaintiff (and Minneapolis attorney) Anthony Brown and others against ATM Network, Inc. in light of the U.S. Court of Appeals consideration of a case on similar facts, Charvat v. First National Bank of Wahoo.
(And, finally, an aside: I am no branding expert and I understand that there really is a place called Wahoo, but isn’t this a limiting name for a bank? I guess FNB Sterling was already taken. But it seems to me that “Wahoo” would lack the dignity and solidity that one wants to associate with a bank name, and that is before learning that the name of the town of Wahoo, Nebraska’s comes from the name of a shrub…Just saying…)