Can u tweet notice of a class action to prospective class members? On the facts of Jermyn v. Best Buy Stores, No. 08 Civ. 00214 (CM), Judge McMahon said you can’t.
Plaintiff Jermyn bought a camera at a Best Buy store in New York, but a week later found the same camera at a cheaper price at another store. Best Buy refused to refund the difference despite its published price match guaranty. Jermyn sued and certified a class of New Yorkers who made a purchase at Best Buy and were denied Best Buy’s price match guarantee after they found the same item for sale at a cheaper price at another store.
Neither Jermyn nor Best Buy had any records reflecting potential class members. But, as Judge McMahon points out “[i]f the names and addresses of class members cannot be determined by reasonable efforts, notice by publication is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the due process clause and Rule 23.” Among other more conventional methods of publication, Jermyn suggested a posting a link on Best Buy’s Twelpforce Twitter site, which handles mostly on-line technical inquiries. But that was a “no go,” according to Judge McMahon:
“Jermyn has offered no evidence that class members use Twitter or Best Buy’s Twelpforce… Twelpforce is a nationwide help desk and Best Buy cannot limit its “tweets” by geographic area. Thus, a “tweet” about the pending class action will likely reach a nationwide audience-a group that is significantly broader than the defined class.”
For the record, notice by newspaper publication, by a post on the Best Buy web site, and by creating a class action web site was approved. Blast email and SMS text did not make the cut for similar reasons as Twitter.
Yet, the guess here is that although Twitter notice did not work in Jermyn, it is coming to a class action litigation near you soon.