CLBR Segment 1: Is California’s Spam Law Preempted?


John Du Wors, Newman Du Wors

Leeor Neta, Golden Gate University

Du Wors and Neta won a major victory last week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California when the court dismissed a claim under the California state spam law as preempted by the CAN-SPAM Act.  I

The Case

Davison Design & Development, Inc. v. Cathy Riley, Case C-11-2970 PJH (N.D. California) (Judge Phyllis Hamilton).

Cathy Riley demands hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for receiving a
few emails. She claims that alleged errors in the header information—the “from” and
“subject” lines—violate California’s Bus. & Prof. Code § 17529.5. Specifically, she
asserts that header information identifying the type of business promoted in the email,
rather than the name of the business, in the “from” line is deceptive. For example, she
claims that an email from the American Association of Retired Persons captioned
“BenefitsFor50Plus” was likely to mislead the recipient.

Cathy Riley is represented by her husband Dan Balsam, as well as Timothy Walton.

Balsam is a notorious “spamigator” but who recently won a major victory in the California Court of Appeals in Balsam v Trancos.

California Lawyer profile with criticism.

The Briefs




The Order

Dismissed as preempted.

Riey Transcript

John Du Wors

From Newman Du Wors:

John is a trial lawyer. His practice emphasizes intellectual property, business, banking, securities and employment law. John has litigated hundreds of state and federal court cases and commercial arbitrations, throughout the country.

John’s representative clients include the Boeing Employee’s Credit Union, Widevine Technologies, Inc., Labor Ready, Inc. and the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation.

Recent representative trial victories include Air International, LLC v. Lonesome Polecat LLC, Is. Co. Sup. Ct. case no. 02-2-00680-0 (alleging criminal profiteering); and The Christensen Firm v. Chameleon Data Corporation, U.S.D.C. W.D. WA case no. 06-cv-00337-TSZ (alleging violation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act).

Other recent representative cases include Dickson v. Doughnut Corporation of America, dba Top Pot Doughnuts, King. Co. Sup. Ct. case no. 09-2-16823-7 (alleging shareholder oppression); Attachmate v. Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County, U.S.D.C. W.D. WA case no. 09-cv-01180 (alleging software infringement); Barrett v. Bill the Butcher, Inc., King Co. Sup. Ct. case no. 10-2-35788-2 (alleging employment discrimination and unlawful securities practices); Direct Route, LLC v. Spirevision, Inc., U.S.D.C W.D. WA case no. 09-cv-00486 (alleging patent infringement and trade secrets misappropriation); and Lane v. Volkswagen Group of America, King Co. Sup. Ct. case no 09-2-42561-2 (alleging class action claims for breach of implied warranty).

John speaks and writes regularly on legal issues relating to intellectual property and securities litigation. John has served as a chair to the Washington State Bar Association’s Business Law Section’s Publications Committee, and previously served as chairman of the Pasadena Bar Association’s panel on Bankruptcy Business & Commercial Law. An avid lover of the arts, John has volunteered as pro bono legal counsel for The Furious Theater Company, The Lineage Dance Company, and The Washington Ensemble Theater.

Leeor Neta

From Golden Gate University

Leeor Neta runs the public interest programs at Golden Gate University School of Law. In this role, he provides career counseling and academic advising to students interested in seeking legal employment throughout the public interest and government sectors. He also manages the loan repayment assistance program and the pro bono program and acts as staff advisor to Golden Gate’s many public interest-related law student organizations. Leeor teaches practical skills courses such as Judicial Externships and Law & Leadership, and conducts public interest employer site visits for the Civil Field Placement Clinic.

Prior to joining Golden Gate, Leeor founded the City of East Palo Alto’s first juvenile diversion program and served for two years as its Executive Director. His government experience includes work at the Office of the State Public Defender where he assisted in the direct appeal of death penalty convictions on behalf of indigent clients. Immediately prior to founding the East Palo Alto Youth Court, Leeor worked for WilmerHale where he litigated the successful state habeas petition of a man sentenced to die in the State of Alabama.

Leeor serves as the 2012-2013 chair of the Public Service Section of the National Association of Law Placement (NALP), the association for legal career professionals and serves on the California State Bar’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.