comScore Response to Edelson McGuire Lawsuit
comScore has received notice of a class action lawsuit filed by Edelson McGuire, a Chicago law firm that has gained notoriety by filing dozens of class action lawsuits against reputable companies in a variety of industries. The suit is filled with factual inaccuracies, and comScore’s position is that this lawsuit is without merit, and we fully intend to vigorously defend ourselves against it.
comScore provides essential research information on online media, through the collection of opinions and usage information from millions of opt-in consumers worldwide. comScore prides itself on its privacy and recruitment practices, which have been rigorously reviewed in annual privacy audits conducted by independent third party auditors for the last 10+ years. comScore has voluntarily submitted itself to these audits since our inception. We have always been committed to best in class privacy practices, as those standards evolve over time, and meet strict privacy guidelines set out by the WebTrust program. comScore has also been working with numerous associations and privacy advocates, including TRUSTe, the Future of Privacy Forum, and the Online Trust Alliance. comScore is committed to its customer and client relations and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. In addition, our panel recruitment sites are certified by such organizations as Network Solutions, Verisign, and Trust-Guard. comScore’s practices have been reviewed by regulatory agencies as well as many Fortune 100 companies, including pharmaceutical and financial services companies, who have rigorous privacy standards themselves. comScore’s policies routinely withstand this intense scrutiny, and we count many of these agencies and companies on our client roster today.
So why are we being sued? For context, it’s important to understand some background on Edelson McGuire. A recent Business Insider article suggests that their modus operandi appears to be to ‘target large and growing companies with deep pockets, find something nitpicky to sue them over’ then garner a ‘settlement from the accused company who is willing to pay just to make the litigation go away.’ The article goes on to say ‘a rough count suggests Edelson McGuire has gone through the above process about 40 or so times.’ As an example, last year, shortly after Groupon received $950MM in funding, Edelson McGuire sued them over expiration dates. Groupon’s CEO, Andrew Mason, called the lawsuit 'confounding' because Groupon has a well-publicized policy where they’ll refund your money at any time for any reason, including an expired expiration date. Still, Groupon chose to settle the suit to avoid the distraction.
comScore joins the roster of scores of companies such as Groupon, Facebook, Zynga, TimeWarner, Yahoo!, Grubhub, RockYou, Match.com, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase that have been targeted by Edelson. Some of these cases choose to settle, as defendants frequently prefer to avoid having to go through the cost and distraction of litigation, even when the merits are on their side. Of those cases where information is public, several of the suits filed by Edelson appear to be long on allegations, but weak on legal support. A recent decision by the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Edelson's suit against AvMed due to an invalid claim and the US District Court for the Northern District of California recently dismissed certain claims from a suit against Facebook that was brought by Edelson and several other law firms. Although the Judge in the latter case left the door open to amend certain counts, he expressed ‘skepticism about the overall merits of the case.’
In our view, we can only guess that Edelson McGuire has taken this action because they either a) don’t understand how we do what we do, or b) think that like many class action defendants, we will pay simply to make them go away. Maybe both. In either case, they are mistaken. We take the privacy of our panelists very seriously, and we are proud of comScore’s practices in this area. We look forward to defending ourselves in the appropriate forum, and affirming the integrity of our privacy practices.