Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Yes: You Gotta Read The Errata

This post from a little over a month ago discussed a couple of Chapter 93A points from the TJX identity theft case. Yesterday, the First Circuit issued its "errata" from the initial opinion. But the errata aren't really errata.

Instead, the Court expands quite substantively on the significance of Federal Trade Commission complaints and consent decrees in the analysis of Chapter 93A claims. The Court replaces two terse paragraphs spanning about a page with five longer paragraphs that run for three and a half pages. What prompted this? It looks like it was TJX's petition for a rehearing (which you can find if you have a PACER account). The response to that petition appears to have been: "Yes, TJX, we'll give you a rehearing. Thanks for the brief! We've reviewed it and we're still ruling against you."

The panel goes a few clicks further than that, though. It emphasizes the magnitude of the plaintiffs' allegations against TJX:
If the charges in the complaint are true (and obviously the details matter), a court using these general FTC criteria might well find in the present case inexcusable and protracted reckless conduct, aggravated by failure to give prompt notice when lapses were discovered internally, and causing very widespread and serious harm to other companies and to innumerable consumers. And such conduct, a court might conclude, is conduct unfair, oppressive and highly injurious--and so in violation of chapter 93A under the FTC's interpretation.
Emphasis mine. But I'm still not clear on what the erratum was.

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