Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Important TCPA Class Action Case

Term: 2015 Term
Oral Argument Date: Oct 14, 2015
Vote: 6-3
Opinion: Ginsburg
Questions Presented: 

1. Whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff  receives an offer of complete relief on his claim.

2. Whether the answer to the first question is any different when the plaintiff has asserted a class claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, but receives an offer of complete relief before any class is certified.

3. Whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity recognized in Yearsley v. W.A. Ross Construction Co., 309 U.S. 18 (1940), for government contractors is restricted to claims arising out of property damage caused by public works projects.

U.S. Chamber's Position: 

The U.S. Chamber filed amicus briefs at the cert. and merits stages in the Supreme Court in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) case regarding whether a class action may move forward when the named plaintiff has already received an offer of full settlement. 

The Chamber’s brief on the merits argues that an offer of full relief moots a plaintiff’s claim, and that this rule must apply in the class action context because permitting putative class actions to proceed without an interested named plaintiff violates Article III and Rule 23 while inviting abuse and gamesmanship.   The Business Roundtable filed the merits brief jointly with the Chamber.  They also filed a joint amicus brief in support of the petition.  Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. and Theane Evangelis of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center. 

Outcome Content: 

The Supreme Court held by a 6-3 vote that an unaccepted settlement offer of full relief does not moot a plaintiff’s claims.  The Court left open the question whether a defendant’s tendering of full payment would moot the plaintiff’s claim.  

Justices in Minority: 
Procedural History: 

Cert. petition filed 1/16/2015. U.S. Chamber amicus brief filed 2/19/2015 for writ of certoriari. Cert. granted 5/18/2015.

U.S. Chamber amicus brief on the merits filed 7/23/2015. Argued 10/14/2015.  Decided 1/20/2016.