Over the last year – and as we have previously reported – online retailers have repeatedly been targeted by threatened or filed class actions, premised on their website terms and conditions purportedly containing unlawful terms that violate the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”). Many of these cases have been dismissed by trial courts on state law grounds and, in federal court actions, for failure to demonstrate “injury in fact,” a fundamental requirement for Article III standing. Continuing this trend, the District of New Jersey recently dismissed yet another website terms and conditions class action grounded in the TCCWNA, Hite v. Lush Internet Inc.
Although not a case decided on constitutional standing grounds, “Defendant liken[ed] the ‘aggrieved consumer’ inquiry to the analysis the Supreme Court recently undertook in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins in determining whether a plaintiff had Article III standing to sue under a particular statute, a comparison the Court [found] useful.” Indeed, evoking key phraseology from Article III jurisprudence, the court explained that “Plaintiff has not alleged concretized harm of the sort that the TCCWNA was meant to prohibit and she lacks standing under the TCCWNA to challenge these terms.”
Judge Simandle thus dismissed the complaint with prejudice, dealing yet another blow to the overly expansive scope of the TCCWNA that plaintiffs have recently been pursuing.