U.S. Supreme Court

Does full settlement offer moot plaintiff's claim? Supreme Court to decide in texting case

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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a case is moot when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim.

At issue in the would-be class action is whether a complete settlement offer, made before the class is certified, moots individual as well as class claims, according to the cert petition (PDF) filed on behalf of the Campbell-Ewald Co. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

The cert petition says the case involves a claim under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which has “become an extortionist weapon in the hands of class action attorneys seeking to extract lucrative attorneys’ fees.”

The Campbell-Ewald Co., a national marketing firm, was accused of violating the consumer law when it sent a text message sent on behalf of the U.S. Navy to recruit new sailors.

The law provides statutory damages of $500 per violation, which can be trebled for willful and knowing violations. Campbell-Ewald Co. offered to pay the plaintiff $1503 for each unsolicited text message he received. The company also offered to pay costs and to stipulate to an injunction.

Another issue in the case is whether Campbell-Ewald is entitled to derivative sovereign immunity from liability for recruiting activities carried out under a valid contract with the Navy.

The case is Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez.

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