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11/11/2010 9:03:23 PM
San Diego Small Claims and Spam

Ellen Spertus sued Kozmo for sending her spam after she opted not to receive their e-mails. Is this a case of a money grabbing opportunity or something San Diego small claims court should brace for?

Spam is annoying. Spam is irritating. Spam can be downright embarrassing. But is spam San Diego small claims court material? Well, let’s examine the evidence. I know of a case where a spam message was attached to a worm. A worm “crawls” through your contact list and sends itself to everyone in your address book. In this case the spam was for sexual enhancement aids. This poor lady unwittingly sent her friends, family and clients advertisement materials for products to enhance their sex life. Unfortunately this included a male friend who had problems of a sexual nature. The results were embarrassing and damaging.

I personally know of a company owner who has to set aside copious amounts of time each week to sit down and go through his e-mails. Despite his best efforts to keep spam out of his in box, he is still inundated with unwanted messages. The problem has gotten so bad, important messages have become lost or answered late because the constant need to filter through and discard hundreds of unimportant messages.

What can a person do if using the opt-out option is not enough? Spertus tried that with Kozmo and then tried to contact their privacy department once the messages did not stop. When both those avenues failed her, she sued.

San Diego small claims court may see increasing levels of spam cases in the future. There are precious few resources available to those harassed by spam; San Diego small claims court and other small claims courts around the country may be the only the place to find relief.

The judgement awarded to Spertus was not large. It was barely enough to cover a nice dinner on the town. However, this may very well be a David and Goliath situation (and we all know how the giant fared in that fatal incident). Perhaps Spertus is on to something here. One case is not enough to stop the giant spam machine but if more people follow her lead, the spammers are going to start hurting. If they hurt bad enough, perhaps they will stop, lick their wounds and retreat.

Was it a money grabbing opportunity? Not a chance. Should San Diego small claims court brace itself? I certainly hope so. Will spammers get their day in court? At first one could only wish and pray. Now one can also sue.
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