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Supreme Court Limits Remedies for Credit Card Privacy Violations

In U.S. v. Bormes, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government could not be sued for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act under an 1887 law that waived governmental immunity for certain claims "premised on other sources of law." The case arose after an attorney paid a federal-court filing fee with his credit card and noticed that the receipt included personal information in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. He then sued the government under the Little Tucker Act, which waives sovereign immunity "for claims premised on other sources of law." Justice Scalia, writing for a unanimous Court, held that the attorney could not sue the government under the Little Tucker Act because the Fair Credit Reporting Act has its own detailed damages provision, and "[w]here . . . a statute contains its own self-executing remedial scheme, we look only to that statute to determine whether Congress intended to subject the United States to dam┬Čages liability." The Court sent the case back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether the government may be sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act itself. For more information, see EPIC: Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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