$243 Million Judgment In Iowa For Violations Of Spam Law

Here’s something interesting I just ran across…

Robert Kramer, who ran a small (he had around 1,500 customers at the time) Internet service provider business under the name CIS Internet Services, was awarded $236 million in statutory damages from a couple of spammers, defendants Henry Perez and Suzanne Bartok, based in Arizona that used email for a variety of marketing purposes, by setting up dummy accounts to catch the defendants’ spam.
Perez & Bartok were judged to have violated Iowa’s ban on sending unsolicited bulk email that does not accurately identify the sender or the message transmission path, under an order entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
The plaintiff could not accurately prove actual damages, which led to the downfall of his additional claim for costs associated with blocking the defendants’ spam, and also led the court to dismiss related causes of action for federal computer fraud, and state and federal racketeering. As for these actual damages, the court found Kramer’s claim that he spent 60 hours each week fighting spam and that he lost 800 customers due to spam to be too speculative to support an award.
You would think the lost customers number would have been fairly solid to prove.
The Iowa Anti-Spamming and Anti-Spoofing Act, Iowa Code ยง714E.1(2) is one of just a handful of state anti-spam laws that applies to both non-commercial and commercial email messages.

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