Los Angeles -- March 13, 2002 -- Morrison & Foerster LLP announced that it is suing Etracks.com, Inc., a Belmont, California-based company that delivers high-volume advertising services via the Internet. The lawsuit, filed last month in San Francisco Superior Court, seeks relief because Etracks has bombarded Morrison & Foerster's email users in California with thousands of unsolicited email advertisements.
The lawsuit is based on two California anti-spam statutes. The first statute forbids the use of California-based equipment of an electronic service provider, such as Morrison & Foerster, to transmit unsolicited email advertisements to the service provider's users if the provider's policy prohibits such use of its equipment. Even after receiving formal notice of Morrison & Foerster's policy against spam, Etracks has sent at least 6,500 unsolicited email advertisements to Morrison & Foerster's California users.
The complaint also claims that Etracks violated a second statute, which also regulates spam. According to Morrison & Foerster, Etracks failed to include in its email messages a subject line with the legally required characters "ADV:" or "ADV:ADLT" (for adult-oriented email messages). In addition, the complaint states that Etracks failed to insert either a toll-free telephone number or a valid return email address in its email messages, which would permit recipients to instruct Etracks to send no further spam. (These additional statutory requirements were upheld by a California appellate court in January.) The complaint attaches sample email advertisements from Etracks as evidence of the violations.
Morrison & Foerster is the largest law firm in California, and one of the largest law firms in the world with more than 1,000 lawyers in 18 offices internationally. "We are a business that lives on email now, so it is very important that we make the tool as productive as possible," said Michael Jacobs, who is handling the case for the firm. "This spam coupled with other spam is a big problem."
Morrison & Foerster has asked the court to enjoin Etracks from sending further unsolicited email advertisements to Morrison & Foerster email addresses. The firm is also seeking other relief, including attorneys' fees and statutorily authorized damages of $50 for each email delivered in violation of the law, up to $25,000 per day.