U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS Bars 'Mix and Match' Sovereign Immunity in Suit Claiming US Violated Identity Theft Law

A Chicago lawyer lost a round in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in his suit alleging the federal government violated a law designed to prevent identity theft.

Lawyer James Bormes had claimed the government violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act when he paid a federal court filing fee and received a receipt containing the last four digits of his credit card, along with the card’s expiration date. At issue was whether sovereign immunity precluded his would-be class action suit.

The unanimous court ruled that lawyer James Bormes could not rely on the Little Tucker Act, which authorizes claims against the government, for a waiver of sovereign immunity. The FCRA contains its own remedies and “supersedes the gap-filling role of the Tucker Act,” according to the opinion (PDF) by Justice Antonin Scalia.

Bormes cannot “mix and match FCRA’s provisions with the Little Tucker Act’s immunity waiver to create an action against the United States,” Scalia said. The case will be remanded for a determination whether the FCRA has an immunity waiver.

The case is United States v. Bormes. Hat tip to SCOTUSblog.

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