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Court: Lawyer can't sue gov't over receipt mistake

Associated Press Modified: November 13, 2012 at 10:15 am •  Published: November 13, 2012
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued its first opinion of the new term, saying a lawyer cannot combine two laws to sue the federal government for violating identity theft protection laws banning the printing of credit card numbers and expiration dates on receipts.

The justices' first such rendering of the term was unanimous, as the court turned aside lawyer James X. Bormes' attempt to sue the United States using a combination of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Little Tucker Act.

In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court said Bormes cannot "mix and match FCRA's provisions with the Little Tucker Act's immunity waiver to create an action against the United States."

The federal government is the largest creditor, lender and employer in the United States, and government lawyers said in court papers that if Bormes' suit were allowed, the government could face "massive liability."

The FCRA prohibits the showing of more than the last five digits of a card number or the expiration date on a credit card or debit card receipt, and defines a person liable under the act as "any individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, cooperative, association, government or governmental subdivision or agency."

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