In a defeat for Spam
Arrest, a judge has thrown out the anti-spam company's lawsuit against a marketer that allegedly sent unsolicited emails to consumers.
Spam Arrest sells a service that intercepts
emails from unfamiliar senders in order to prevent spam. The company asks those senders to fill out a CAPTCHA, and also verify that they comply with terms of service that prohibit unsolicited ads.
Spam Arrest's terms also say it's entitled to $2,000 per violation.
The company sued Sentient
Jet last year for allegedly sending 600 unsolicited ads to Spam Arrest customers, after agreeing to Spam Arrest's terms of service. The anti-spam company alleged that Sentient Jet breached
the contract with Spam Arrest, and also interfered with its relationships with clients.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones in Seattle threw out the
case late last week. “After reviewing the parties’ motions,” Jones wrote, “the court concludes that Sentient Jet owes Spam Arrest nothing.”
Jones ruled that Spam Arrest hadn't presented enough evidence to show that Sentient Jet entered into a binding contract with the anti-spam company. “No one
knows who at Sentient Jet completed the verification process in any specific instance,” Jones wrote. He added that even though the verifications came from IP addresses connected to Sentient Jet,
anyone from the company could have completed Spam Arrests's forms -- including employees who weren't empowered to sign contracts on behalf of the company.
Jones also invalidated the $2,000 damages provision in Spam Arrests's terms of service on the grounds that the figure was not a “reasonable forecast” of
any actual economic loss to Spam Arrest. “The evidence suggests that Spam Arrest has never attempted to forecast or calculate the damages arising from a breach of any Sender Agreement, and
instead plucked the $2,000 figure from thin air,” Jones wrote. “Even now, forced to defend the $2,000 figure as a reasonable forecast, Spam Arrest is unable to draw a plausible connection
between the $2,000 it claims and the damages it suffers as a result of the breach of a single Sender Agreement.”