There was a concern by legal experts that in the California Appellate Court’s decision in Balsam v. Trancos that a huge amount of people would use this to abuse the legal system to make money. For those who didn’t follow the ruling, it required that all commercial email advertisements to include in the “from line” a domain that is registered to the sender, and not be hidden in a whois search (among other things)
Well, it seems that one such person has decided to use this law to go after as many companies as possible to make easy cash. Jamie Carper, a convicted criminal and felonious robber has filed numerous lawsuits in Small Claims court against companies, claiming that he has received emails that violate this law.
What’s strange about these lawsuits is that California prohibits anyone from filing more than two small claims lawsuits per year, in order to prevent misuse of the system by those who would attempt to extort money. Mr. Carper obviously has done his homework because this only applies to lawsuits for $2,500 or more, so he’s been suing all the companies for an arbitrary amount under that, hoping that no judge or the defendants will notice the plethora of suits he’s been filling. He’s also been filing in the same court outside of Los Angeles, making it harder for people to get to location without travel.
This is an obvious misuse of the legal system, because if the cases went to court, it’s highly unlikely that any judge would think that he suffered $2,000 worth of damages for receiving an email. In fact, more than likely the only reason that he is even getting these emails is that he signed up for offers, and then found companies that would rather pay him off than fight the charges.
What makes these lawsuits even weirder is that according to the companies I spoke to, some if not all of the emails that he received don’t even violate the ruling and don’t have these problems – and in some cases didn’t even come from the companies being sued. I haven’t looked over them separately, but if this is true it makes the accusations of misusing the system even more relevant.
However, there is another twist to this story. Jamie Carper is not only a serial plaintiff, but is also affiliated with famous spam lawsuit attorney Dan Balsam. He’s one of the Plaintiffs involved in the class-action lawsuit against SparkNetworks for violating this same statute. He’s not your run of the mill consumer – he’s a convicted felon who has learned to obviously manipulate the system to make money. He’s not suffering damages, but instead looking for companies that he can claim damaged him.
We’ve copied the legal record of Mr. Carper below, hoping that perhaps some people can shed some more light on this case. You can look them all up here.