Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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Plaintiff-appellee Elizabeth Hammond sought to pursue a class action in New Mexico state court on behalf of everyone in the country who, like her, called to cancel their Stamps.com subscriptions after “discovering” that Stamps.com “was taking money from them” every month. Hammond alleged that this class included “hundreds or thousands of persons.” And while she didn't allege a total damages amount, she contended that she was entitled to $300 in statutory damages and that other members of the proposed class should “likely” receive damages of $31.98, representing two monthly subscription charges ($15.99 x 2), based on her estimate of how long customers could have reasonably failed to notice the monthly charges before calling to cancel. Hammond also sought punitive damages for herself and other class members. Stamps.com sought to remove the case to federal court, presenting uncontested declarations showing that in the last four years, at least 312,680 customers called to cancel their subscriptions. The company observed that, if each of these persons were to win the same $300 in damages Hammond sought for herself, the value of this case would exceed $93 million. And even if other class members could secure only $31.98 in damages, the company noted, the case’s potential value would still lie at almost $10 million. The district court found lack of jurisdiction, holding that Stamps.com failed to meet its burden of showing that over $5 million was "in controversy" because the company failed to disaggregate from the total number of customer cancellations those customers who “felt duped” by Stamps.com’s website disclosures. Disagreeing with the district court's decision it lacked jurisdiction, the Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hammond v. Stamps.com" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Zen Magnets, LLC (“Zen”) challenged a regulation promulgated by Respondent Consumer Product Safety Commission (“the Commission”) restricting the size and strength of the rare earth magnets that Zen sold. The sets consisted of small, high-powered magnets that users could arrange and rearrange in various geometric designs. The component magnets are unusually small (their diameters are approximately five millimeters) and unusually powerful. Magnets of this type have been marketed and sold to consumers (by Zen and other distributors) as desktop trinkets, stress-relief puzzles, and toys, and apparently also for educational and scientific purposes. Although the strength of these magnets was part of their appeal, it could also pose a grave danger when the magnets are misused, particularly if two or more magnets were ingested. During 2011, in response to reports of injured children, Commission staff began evaluating whether the magnet sets currently on the market complied with ASTM F963 (“the toy standard”). In May 2012, the Commission required the thirteen leading magnet set distributors to report any information of which they were aware reasonably supporting the conclusion that their magnets did not comply with an applicable safety standard, contained a defect, or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury. Four months after eliminating ten of the leading magnet set distributors, the Commission proposed a new safety standard aimed at regulating the size and strength of all magnet sets. Unlike the toy standard, the final rule was not limited to magnets designed or marketed as toys for children under fourteen years of age, but rather applied to all magnet sets. Zen was the only remaining importer and distributor of the magnet sets targeted by the final rule. Over the years, Zen made efforts to comply with the toy standard by implementing age restrictions and placing warnings on its website and packaging, as well as by imposing sales restrictions on its retail distributors. Its magnet sets, however, did not comply with the strength and size restrictions of the final rule. Zen sought judicial review of that safety standard. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Commission’s prerequisite factual findings, which were compulsory under the Consumer Product Safety Act, were incomplete and inadequately explained. Accordingly, the Court vacated and remanded this case back to the Commission for further proceedings. View "Zen Magnets v. Consumer Product Safety Comm'n" on Justia Law

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The Internal Revenue Service filed a notice of federal tax lien against "Attorneys Title Insurance Agency of Wright Gary A Member" with the Pitkin County Recorder. The Recorder, however, listed the lien on its indexing website as against "Gary A. Wright" in his personal capacity. Wright paid the underlying lien. Credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”) Experian Information Services, Inc. (“Experian”) and Trans Union LLC (“Trans Union”) received information about the lien from their contractor, LexisNexis, and included it in their reports of Wright’s credit history. Wright learned about the lien appearing in his credit reports. He sent letters to the CRAs disputing the lien, asserting: (1) the IRS had withdrawn the lien because the taxes had subsequently been paid; and (2) the notice of the lien inaccurately stated the lien was assessed against him when it should have been assessed only against Attorneys Title Insurance Agency of Aspen (“ATA”). In response to these letters, the CRAs checked the information, but did not remove the lien entirely from Wright’s credit report because the IRS treated the lien as "released" rather than withdrawn. Wright sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and Colorado Consumer Credit Reporting Act (“CCCRA”), claiming the credit reports were inaccurate, the CRAs acted unreasonably in reporting the lien and responding to his letters, and the foregoing caused him to suffer damages. The district court granted summary judgment to the CRAs, concluding they used reasonable procedures to prepare Wright’s credit report and to reinvestigate in response to Wright’s letters. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Wright v. Experian Information Solutions" on Justia Law