U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Dismisses Vistaprint Class Action Lawsuit
Vistaprint N.V., Venlo, Netherlands, announced on August 23, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an opinion affirming the August 2009 decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas that dismissed the purported class action lawsuit against Vistaprint USA, Inc., Vistaprint Limited and two third party merchants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the District Court's "detailed analysis is compelling in explaining that each claim is entirely without merit."
The consolidated complaint had alleged that the defendants violated the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and the Massachusetts Unfair Trade Practices Act in connection with certain third party membership discount programs offered to Vistaprint customers on Vistaprint.com. The complaint also had sought recovery for certain common law claims including unjust enrichment and "money had and received." On August 18, 2009, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed Vistaprint Limited from the case and on August 31, 2009, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas dismissed all remaining claims against Vistaprint USA, Inc. and the third party merchants, and ruled on substantive grounds that the defendants had not violated any of the statutes or common law claims cited by the plaintiffs. The District Court had found "without reservation" that, as a matter of law, the web pages on which the membership discount programs were offered on Vistaprint.com were clearly written and not deceptive.
"We are very pleased that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the District Court's dismissal order," said Lawrence Gold, senior vice president and general counsel of Vistaprint. "We always maintained that the terms of the third party membership programs were clearly stated and not deceptive, so we were gratified when the District Court dismissed the purported class action lawsuit against us. While we made a business decision in November 2009 to terminate all third-party membership rewards and similar programs on Vistaprint's websites, we are pleased that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has now vindicated our position and the District Court's ruling that the plaintiffs' claims against us were entirely without merit."