The U.S. Supreme Court today granted certiorari to an advertising partner of the U.S. Navy in a case involving “mooting” and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). See Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, 14-857. As we indicated in a previous Media Privacy and Risk Report post, this appeal could resolve a circuit split on whether, and so, under what circumstances, a putative class action defendant may offer full and complete relief to a class representative and eliminate the case or controversy as to that individual plaintiff.
Although Gomez is a TCPA case, the ramifications of a defense victory could be far-reaching, enabling defendants in putative class actions to provide full and complete relief to a plaintiff in any situation in which the individual damages are readily ascertainable. A whole host of litigation types involving clearly defined statutory damage amounts could be affected. Given that Article III standing, or “injury-in-fact,” is a constitutional requirement, many legal scholars have reasoned that a procedural rule such as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 should not be allowed to trump a constitutional requirement. First, an individual must have standing. Only if that individual has standing should that individual then be able to try to proceed on behalf of a putative class.