Thursday, August 23, 2007

Business Litigation - New Case on CAN-SPAM's Preemption of State Anti-Spam Law Claims

Another case in the burgeoning case law in regard to CAN-SPAM’s preemption of state law claims for alleged spamming activity has been decided. In Kleffman v. Vonage Holdings Corp., decided on May 23, 2007 by the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the Court held that a plaintiff’s claims that he received 11 emails advertising Vonage’s telephone service in violation of the California Business and Professions Code Section 17529.5 were preempted by CAN-SPAM.

Specifically, the Court held that Kleffman’s claims were “clearly preempted” because “He does not allege a traditional tort theory at all, or even that he was at any point misle[d] by any of the eleven Vonage emails.”

The decision is based on reasoning similar to that set forth in the case of Omega World Travel v. Mummagraphics see earlier post here a 2006 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (which is the Federal Appeals Court for, inter alia, Maryland and Virginia). Even though the Kleffman Court’s opinion relied on the same underlying authorities as the Mummagraphics opinion, the Court distinguished Mummagraphics and seemed to try and limit its holding. The Kleffman case is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A copy of the Court’s opinion will be made available soon.

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