September 15, 2016
Partner Jeff Jacobson was quoted in the Rose Sheet article “Pending Jersey Court Rulings Will Help Clarify TCCWNA Scope, Risks.” The article examines New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA) and the potential class action threat it poses any business with an e-commerce platform. Mr. Jacobson said that key court rulings on motions to dismiss TCCWNA cases will help to define to what extent the law applies to website terms of service and fairly standard liability disclaimers in those terms.
Plaintiffs are treating company’s website terms and conditions as consumer contracts, and if any breach a consumer’s right at the federal or state level, the TCCWNA is violated regardless of no damages to the plaintiff. Mr. Jacobson explains, “The plaintiffs’ bar is taking the position that it's enough that the terms are presented to the consumer and that the consumer is bound to them by virtue of having made a purchase – whether she read them or not. But that gives no meaning to the word ‘aggrieved.’ At that point, every consumer who is bound by the contract is aggrieved, and I don't think that that gives the term enough meaning.” As a result of the increase in TCCWNA litigation, Mr. Jacobson advises companies to closely examine and “scrub” their website terms and conditions, consulting with counsel experience in New Jersey law.