Triple Play is a weekly NJBIZ feature that asks top executives in New Jersey to talk about three things related to their industry.
Edward J. Fanning Jr., is a leader of McCarter & English’s task force representing businesses that have been sued or received demand letters alleging violations of a seldom-used law regarding disclaimers and limitations of liability. The Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act was adopted pre-Internet, but in the last few weeks, plaintiffs’ lawyers have escalated efforts to apply it to website language.
We asked Ed whether New Jersey businesses should be concerned about TCCWNA claims, and what they should do if they receive one.
1. Any business that has an external website should be concerned, because this vague statute carries penalties even when consumers have suffered no harm. Plaintiffs’ attorneys are trying to shoehorn TCCWNA, which was created before the Internet existed, into today’s economy, largely because class actions can be lucrative for those attorneys.
2. Companies should contact counsel with experience in managing TCCWNA claims to assess strategies for attacking the claim before filing a formal answer, fighting class certification or changing their website language, if that would not significantly disrupt business.
3. Consult your insurance recovery attorneys and broker to see if your policies address this scenario.