U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court considers case of litigant who 'won't take yes for an answer'

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday considered whether a full settlement offer moots a case—an issue that could have a big impact in class actions.

The plaintiff, Jose Gomez, filed a would-be class action suit when he got an unsolicited text on behalf of the Navy. The text sought recruits with a promise they could get a career, an education and a chance to serve a greater cause, report the New York Times, the Washington Post and Law.com (sub. req.). Gomez sued under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which allows damages of up to $1,500 for those who receive unwanted texts.

The defendant offered to settle for $1,503 and contended the complete settlement offer mooted the class action. Gomez refused the offer.

Liberal justices appeared to side with Gomez and conservatives against him. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy appeared to be the swing vote, according to Law.com.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said judicial resources shouldn’t be used to decide disputes that have reached a resolution. “You’re being given everything you want,” Roberts told Gomez’s lawyer. “You won’t take yes for an answer.”

But other justices suggested Gomez hadn’t received anything he wanted. Justice Elena Kagan suggested attorney fees are in play, while Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Gomez may be seeking a declaration of liability by the company.

The case is Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez.

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