• February 24, 2010

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Colloton, Beam, Benton) reversed the U.S. District Court (S.D. Iowa), which had awarded summary judgment to a plaintiff who took on some internet spammers under Iowa’s anti-spam statute.  At $10/spam email, the bill came to $236 million.  The problem with plaintiff’s case as to the particular defendant who took the appeal:  the appellant did not “initiate” the emails.  She was a “co-conspirator” rather than primary actor and the statute does not include a claim for conspiracy.  Also, plaintiff, an individual who operated an internet service provider had to concede that of the 23.6 million emails, only 23 or so got through the spamblocker and he had no proof of any actual damages (or, more precisely, the claimed damages were “impermissibly speculative”).

The case was filed in 2004.  Along the way, defendants appear to have destroyed evidence, destroying computers and documents.  Plaintiff won a bench trial but one wonders if, at the end of the day, plaintiff’s counsel might have notched a very costly (that is, uncollectable) win…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *