The Seventh Circuit’s recent decision on May 1, 2020 in the hotly contested dispute between Molson Coors Beverage Company USA LLC (Molson Coors) (maker of Miller Lite and Coors Light beers) and Anheuser-Busch Companies LLC (Anheuser-Busch) (maker of Bud Light beers) sounds a cautionary note for future parties contemplating a false advertising claim – look
A recent argument and non-decision at the Supreme Court could have significant effects on plaintiffs’ lawsuits under consumer data protection and privacy laws. Last week, the Court heard arguments on the standard of harm for establishing standing under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and declined to review a Driver’s Privacy Protection Act case in which the harm to the potential class was uncertain.
The cases, Spokeo Inc. v. Robins, et al. and Senne v. Palatine, Illinois, interpret actual or potential harm as a requirement for standing in actions brought under laws that protect consumers’ personal information. While the justices appeared divided on whether Spokeo’s publication of false consumer information online constituted injury sufficient to allow a plaintiff to sue under FCRA, the Court’s denial of the plaintiff’s appeal in Palatine let stand the Seventh Circuit’s decision that the benefits of including personal information on parking tickets should be balanced against the “negligible harm” of disclosing the information. The law that results in Spokeo and the new Seventh Circuit interpretation of the DPPA have the potential to make it more difficult for plaintiffs to get their privacy law cases into court.
Continue Reading Spokeo, Palatine Cases Discuss Negligible Harm from Privacy Breaches, Could Put Damper on Suits
Perturbed by two allegedly unwanted faxes, Arnold Chapman brought a putative class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). For himself, he sought the most the statute could provide – $3,000, an injunction, and costs. ($3,000 represents $500 in statutory damages for each of the two faxes, trebled for an allegedly knowing or wilful violation.) The defendant offered Chapman $3,002, and the entry of an injunction, and costs. Chapman let the offer expire without accepting it. The District Court dismissed the case as moot.
Chapman appealed, and late last week, the Seventh Circuit reversed the lower court ruling. In Arnold Chapman v. First Index, Inc., the Seventh Circuit held that an expired offer of judgment does not moot an individual plaintiff’s claims. In so ruling, the panel reversed circuit precedent and aligned itself with the Second, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits on the issue.…