Muransky v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc.

Confidential TCPA Settlement
February 11, 2017
Flaum v. Doctors’ Associates, Inc.
May 10, 2017

A proposed class of consumers suing Godiva Chocolatier Inc. for allegedly publishing more than the last five digits of their credit card numbers in violation of federal law asked a Florida federal judge to approve their $6.3 million settlement on Monday.

The proposed settlement would be the third-largest in the history of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act — which, among other things, mandates the truncation of credit and debit card information on receipts in order to limit identity theft — according to Monday’s motions for approval.

In addition, the proposed class counsel seeks more than $2.1 million in fees and expenses, or about one-third of the settlement, for work done on the case. The firms working on the case said that the extensive work required to notice 318,000 class members using only transaction information merits such a fee, according to the motion for approval. Of the 318,000 noticed only four objected to the settlement terms, and they were professional objectors, the motion added.

Godiva also asked the judge for approval of the settlement on Monday. The chocolate company said that the deal is in the proposed class’ best interest, standing by its claim that the consumers failed to state a claim under FACTA.

Because the lawsuit only claimed negligent violation of the law and not a willful violation, the proposed class would not be able to collect any damages, the company claimed. It blamed the violation on a software mishap caused by a third-party vendor.

“Those facts may have supported, at best, a claim for a negligent violation. They did not support a claim for a willful violation,” Godiva said in its memorandum in support of the settlement. “Consequently, Godiva went into the mediation in November with the view that [the lead plaintiff] was not entitled to any damages whatsoever in this action.”

Consumer David Muransky brought the proposed class action against Godiva in April 2015, after visiting the store and receiving a receipt with both the last four digits of his credit card number and the first six digits of his account number.

He allegedly discovered the violation after making a purchase at one of the company’s Florida retail locations, court documents said.

The company has, however, continued to deny any willful violations of the law. Godiva said the violation was caused by a third-party vendor, which unilaterally and without permission, altered code in a way that caused the incomplete truncation of card information on the company’s receipts. The issue affected more than 300,000 consumers over a 12-week period in 2015, the company said.

Representatives for both parties did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment.

The proposed class is represented by Scott D. Owens of Scott D. Owens Esq., Bret Leon Lusskin of Bret Lusskin PA and Michael S. Hilicki of Keogh Law Ltd.

Godiva is represented by Brian Melendez of Dykema Gossett PLLC and Charles P. Flick and Shawn Y. Libman of Bowman and Brooke LLP.

The case is Muransky v. Godiva Chocolatier Inc., case number 0:15-cv-60716, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.