Keim v. ADF Midatlantic
Brian Keim brought a class action lawsuit against several companies that operate Pizza Huts, claiming that they had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending unwanted texts containing Pizza Hut promotions to cell phones. The defendants tried to forestall a class action by making an “offer of judgment” to Mr. Keim that they claimed would fully satisfy his individual claim, though not the claims of the class as a whole. Mr. Keim rejected the offer, and the defendants then argued that the case was “moot” and had to be dismissed. The district court in which the action was brought accepted the argument and dismissed the case in its entirety. Public Citizen represented Mr. Keim on appeal, arguing that the increasingly common defense tactic of attempting to “moot” class actions by making settlement offers to individual plaintiffs rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding mootness. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding in an unpublished opinion that a Rule 68 offer cannot moot a plaintiff’s claim, that the offer in this case was not for complete relief in any event, and that class claims would not be mooted by a Rule 68 offer even if individual claims were. In its published opinion in Stein v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was argued and decided together with Keim, the court of appeals accepted all the arguments Public Citizen presented on behalf of Keim.