Carrie Salls Jul. 26, 2016, 10:04am


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — An order by an Eastern District of California magistrate judge dismissing a class action filed against LogMeIn over the termination of the company’s free app could be good news for defendants facing fraud-based consumer protection claims in California.

“The ruling is helpful because it confirms that courts are holding plaintiffs to a strict standard,” Claudia Maria Vetesi of Morrison Foerster told Legal Newsline. Vetesi focuses her practice on the defense of consumer class actions and complex commercial litigation. 

Vetesi said the ruling indicates that plaintiffs in these cases must allege that they read and relied on specific claims made by the company and suffered injury as a result, rather than pointing to statements made by defendants and alleging that consumers are likely to have been misled by those statements.

“Courts are increasingly dismissing claims that fail to allege such individualized reliance and injury,” Vetesi said.

In Handy v. LogMeIn, Inc., federal magistrate judge Jennifer R. Thurston ruled that the plaintiff failed to prove that the company misrepresented the fact that the free app had been discontinued or that users of the app were led to believe that the free app and LogMeIn’s Ignition paid subscription product were “companion products.”

The lawsuit was filed by a user of the free app, who also purchased an Ignition subscription. The plaintiff alleged that users were not properly notified that the free app would be discontinued and, had he known, he would have not purchased the paid subscription. The complaint cites California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and False Advertising Law (FAL).

According to the order, the plaintiff continued to use the subscription product in 2014 and 2015. 

“While he may be outraged by what he feels occurred to others, the court is not clear why he believed that this outrage makes him aggrieved such that he can vindicate this grievance in this litigation,” Thurston said in the order dismissing the lawsuit.

Thurston said in her order that LogMeIn explained its plan to discontinue the free app and offered customers a six-month free subscription to Ignition. The court also found that the plaintiff was unable to prove that the free app and the subscription service were companion products that rendered Ignition less valuable when the free app was discontinued.

“It doesn’t appear that the court thought the plaintiff’s case had any merit,” Vetesi said. “(The plaintiff) continued using that product even after the free app was discontinued. As such, he wasn’t injured.”

 Vetesi said LogMeIn clearly announced the discontinuation of the free app, and the plaintiff didn’t claim that he was confused by the disclosures in any way. In addition, she said LogMeIn allowed users to continue using the Ignition product, which the plaintiff had purchased for a one-time fee.

 “The case is in line with other recent cases involving fraud-based UCL and FAL cases,” Vetesi said.

 Vetesi said the court docket does not indicate that the plaintiff has appealed the dismissal order yet.

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