• December 17, 2010

On-line or remote sales (that is, sales via telephone or mobile phone) continue their steep rise, putting the squeeze on your friendly neighborhood ________ (fill in the blank).  Small businesses across the country have already had their hands full over the past 20-30 years with the advent of the big nationwide/worldwide chains (Walmart, Costco, Minnesota’s own beloved Target, Home Depot, CVS, to name a few, etc., etc.).   Now, with on-line/mobile sales, the threat to these businesses is ratcheted up still further.

One small Twin Cities business, Twin Cities Eye Specialists, appears to have tried to fight back (against 1-800 Contacts, in this case) but the tactic appears to have been unsuccessful.  

U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.) recently signed an order requiring Twin Cities Eye Specialists to send a note to its customers informing them that 1-800 Contacts “is an acceptable alternative for fulfilling your prescriptions for contact lenses.”

Interestingly, Judge Tunheim’s order provides for the sealing of 1 800 Contact’s complaint and re-filing of the complaint with certain allegations redacted.  The redactions do not relate to private patient data but rather relate to alleged conduct of parties, pointing to a subtle tension in the case law on the subject of private litigants’ privacy rights (versus the public’s right to know) in the context of civil litigation in U.S. courts (compare this recent ruling by U.S. Mag. Judge Franklin L. Noel (D. Minn.)).

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