Advertising firm, Campbell-Ewald, sent unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy to approximately 100,000 people, stating: “Destined for something big? Do it in the Navy.” These messages were sent as part of an ongoing recruitment drive. The U.S. Supreme Court has recently ruled against Campbell-Ewald, despite arguments that the advertising firm’s settlement offer to class action members would have resolved the case.
The class action plaintiffs claim that the company violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending the unsolicited text messages. The company argued that because it had offered to pay plaintiffs the maximum amount available under law to settle the claims, that the Court had no grounds to hear the case. Campbell-Ewald had offered to settle for $1,500 for each violation of the Act.
The Supreme Court upheld the September 2014 decision of the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court’s six-three decision was issued in favor of the plaintiffs, led by class action lead plaintiff Jose Gomez. Writing on behalf of the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg indicated that an unaccepted settlement offer does not moot a plaintiff’s case. The Court’s opinion is docketed Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-857.
In the current Supreme Court term, there are three class action appeals on the docket. The other cases involve appeals filed by Tyson Foods, Inc. and Spokeo, Inc. Campbell-Ewald is a large Detroit-based advertising agency that is a subsidiary of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
The U.S. Navy was not named as a defendant in this case and is not being sued with respect to this incident. The Obama administration has filed an amicus brief in favor of Gomez and the other class action plaintiffs.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Represent Individuals in Class Action Lawsuits
In a class action lawsuit, large numbers of individuals who have suffered a similar harm can harness the power of their numbers to effectively seek justice against a large corporation. When an individual suffers a nominal harm, such as receiving an unsolicited text message, there is no incentive to file a lawsuit due to the high cost-benefit ratio. But when plaintiffs unite, class actions are an effective means to hold corporations responsible for their harmful conduct.
Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green represent clients in class actions throughout Philadelphia and South Jersey. Our offices are conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia. To schedule a consultation, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.