Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Consumer Law
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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that LBD used Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDSs) in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). In this case, plaintiff received hundreds of unsolicited text messages from LBD over the course of more than a year and a half. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to LBD, holding that LBD's systems qualified as ATDSs. The court held that LBD's systems met both statutory requirements by having both the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and the capacity to dial such numbers. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of a class, filed suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, alleging that Credit Control, in an effort to collect the outstanding debt on plaintiff's Kohl's private label credit card account, sent him a letter that did not list the "creditor to whom the debt is owed," in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692g. Plaintiff also alleged that Credit Control's letter constituted a false or misleading representation, in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692e. The district court granted summary judgment on the pleadings to Credit Control. The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in finding that Credit Control disclosed the "name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed" by listing Kohl's, the servicer of the account, as the "client." Because the district court then relied on this erroneous finding in further holding that the letter did not constitute a false or misleading representation, the court did not reach the question of whether the letter violated Section 1692e. Accordingly, the court reversed as the Section 1692g claim and vacated as to the Section 1692e claim, remanding for further proceedings. View "Bryan v. Credit Control, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' second amended complaint alleging that Dunkin Donuts deceptively marketed two of its trademarked products -- the Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich and the Angus Steak & Egg Wake-Up Wrap. Plaintiffs alleged that through representations made in labeling and television advertisements, Dunkin Donuts deceived consumers into believing that the Products contained an "intact" piece of meat when the Products actually contained a ground beef patty with multiple additives. The district court dismissed claims based on lack of general personal jurisdiction in New York and failure to state a claim. The court held that, under New York law, the act of registering to do business under section 1301 of the New York Business Corporation Law does not constitute consent to general personal jurisdiction in New York. The court rejected plaintiffs' arguments that Dunkin Donuts' contacts with New York were sufficient to subject it to general personal jurisdiction in the state, and agreed with the district court that plaintiff failed to allege a plausible violation of sections 349 and 350. View "Chen v. Dunkin' Brands, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), alleging that defendant failed to provide plaintiff with a copy of the written authorization he gave online for recurring monthly charges to his debit card. The Second Circuit affirmed in part, holding that Webloyalty satisfied its obligation under the EFTA by providing plaintiff with an email containing the relevant terms and conditions of that authorization. In this case, the EFTA did not require Webloyalty to provide plaintiff with a duplicate of the webpage on which he provided authorization for recurring fund transfers, and Webloyalty's email to plaintiff was sufficient. However, the court held on a separate claim arising under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, that the district court erroneously dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court considered plaintiff's remaining arguments and concluded that they were meritless. The court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "L.S. v. Webloyalty, Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the jury's award of damages against Ritz-Craft for violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act in selling and constructing a modular home that plaintiffs purchased for their retirement. The Second Circuit certified a question of state law to the Vermont Supreme Court: whether a court may grant prejudgment interest to private litigants who are awarded compensatory damages under the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 9, 2461(b). The court resolved the remaining claims in the appeal and cross-appeal in a separate summary order. View "Brennan-Centrella v. Ritz-Craft Corporation of Pennsylvania" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action alleging that Coca‐Cola violated several provisions of New York State law through misleading naming and marketing of its soft drink "Diet Coke." The court held that when included in a soft drink title, the adjective "diet" (1) refers specifically to caloric content rather than a generic promise of weight‐loss, and (2) carries a primarily relative (in relation to the non‐diet soft drink equivalent), rather than an absolute, meaning. Therefore, the court found that plaintiffs' allegations of false statements or conduct implausible on their face and held that the district court properly dismissed the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). View "Geffner v. The Coca-Cola Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Thomson Reuters' motion for summary judgment in an action alleging claims under the Federal Consumer Reporting Act (FCRA). Plaintiff filed suit after a background check performed using Thomson Reuters' subscription-based internet platform, "CLEAR," falsely reported that plaintiff had been previously convicted of theft. The court held that the district court correctly concluded that Thomson Reuters is not a "consumer reporting agency" and was therefore not subject to the FCRA. In this case, Thomson Reuters did not intend for its CLEAR platform to furnish "consumer reports." View "Kidd v. Thomson Reuters Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law
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A Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violation "occurs," for the purposes of the FDCPA's one‐year statute of limitations, when an individual is injured by the alleged unlawful conduct. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's FDCPA claim. The court held that plaintiff's claim was time-barred because plaintiff filed suit one year and one day after Citibank froze his accounts. Furthermore, even if the discovery rule applied to FDCPA claims as a general matter, plaintiff's claim was still time-barred. Finally, plaintiff was not entitled to equitable tolling because he did not diligently pursue his rights. View "Benzemann v. Houslanger & Associates, PLLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Consumer Law
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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against AEO, alleging that unsolicited spam text messages they received were in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. After the parties agreed to settle, third party defendant Experian objected to certification, arguing that plaintiffs lacked standing under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). Class member Bowes objected to the settlement as unfair. The district court approved both the settlement and certified the settlement class. The Second Circuit held that plaintiffs' receipt of the unsolicited text messages, without any other injury, was sufficient to demonstrate injury-in-fact. The court held that plaintiffs were not required to demonstrate any additional harm because the nuisance and privacy invasion attendant on spam texts were the very harms with which Congress was concerned when enacting the Act. Furthermore, history confirms that causes of action to remedy such injuries were traditionally regarded as providing bases for lawsuits in English or American courts. Therefore, the court dismissed Experian's appeal. The court affirmed with respect to Bowes' appeal, because the district court acted within its discretion in approving the class settlement. View "Melito v. Experian Marketing Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging violations of Vermont and federal law when the terms of their loan agreements provided for interest rates well in excess of caps imposed by Vermont law. Plaintiffs sought an injunction against tribal officers in charge of Plain Green and an award of money damages against other defendants. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motion to dismiss and motion to compel arbitration. The court held that tribal sovereign immunity did not bar this suit because plaintiffs may sue tribal officers under a theory analogous to Ex parte Young for prospective, injunctive relief based on violations of state and substantive federal law occurring off of tribal lands. The court also held that the arbitration clauses of the loan agreements were unenforceable and unconscionable. View "Gingras v. Think Finance, Inc." on Justia Law