A Buchanan team including Matthew H. Meade, Elizabeth S. Klaproth and legal assistant Cheri Pearce won the dismissal of a putative class action claim against our clients, more than 40 Aaron’s Inc. franchisees, who were sued on federal statutory claims under the Federal Wiretap Act as amended by the Electronics Communications Privacy Act, as well as common law invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy claims for allegedly permitting spyware to be used against their customers.

U.S. District Judge Bissoon in the Western District of Pennsylvania adopted Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter’s recommendation that Plaintiffs’ claims against the franchisees should be dismissed for lack of standing because none of them did business with the class representative plaintiffs, the Byrds. In addition, Judge Bissoon adopted the Magistrate’s recommendation that class certification should be denied. Neither the Magistrate Judge nor District Judge Bissoon reached the alternative grounds for dismissal raised in Buchanan’s motion to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint, lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for relief.

Separately, Judge Bissoon ordered that Plaintiffs’ single claim for violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act against our clients’ co-defendants’, Aaron’s and franchisee Aspen Way, should be allowed to proceed. However, with the denial of class certification (and dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims against the franchisees) that seems like a pyrrhic victory for Plaintiffs.

Subject to any interlocutory appeal to the Third Circuit that plaintiffs may seek to pursue, all of the franchisees Buchanan represented are dismissed from the case. 

Read the full article in Law360 - “Aaron’s Gets Claims Trimmed in Rental Computer Spy Suit” (Law360, March 31, 2014)