A lawsuit has been filed by a Florida management consultant company seeking tens of thousands of dollars in damages from Intuit, the software manufacturer, over e-mails, sometimes thousands per day, that clogged the company’s computers.

The action is being brought in California by attorney Timothy J. Walton on behalf of PN, a limited liability corporation in Florida.

“Plaintiff … brings this action against Defendants for sending thousands of Unsolicited Commercial Email (‘UCE’ or ‘spam’) messages to PN during October, 2008 and November, 2008, inclusive. Defendants continue to advertise in unlawful spam and send e-mail to PN,” the complaint states.

Walton told WND that he’s been involved in litigation over spam for more than 10 years, and the PN claim is about as egregious as any he’s seen.

A spokeswoman for Intuit said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Walton said the next step will be for Intuit to file a response and then a case management conference probably will be held by the court to establish a schedule.

The case revolves around the tens of thousands of e-mails Intuit allegedly had delivered to PN, triggering the company’s computers to crash and its business work to be delayed and lost.

“The headers of the e-mail messages contain or are accompanied by elements of falsified, misrepresented, or forged header information, in volation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Cod [Paragraph] 17529.5,” the case alleges. “PN requests that this court award statutory damages of $1,000 per e-mail message.”

The complain filed by the Boca Raton-based management company said the spam was delivered to “one particular e-mail address which Plaintiff never provided to Defendants prior to October 8, 2008.”

“From at least beginning October 8, 2008, through at least November 20, 2008, INTUIT sent at least 12,700 e-mail messages to Plaintiff,” the action says. “Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that the electronic messages were initiated for the purpose of advertising or promoting the lease, sale, rental, gift offer, or other disposition of any property, goods, services, or extension of credit.”

The complaint alleges PN never asked for e-mail at the targeted address.

The management company asked to be dropped from Intuit’s e-mail lists, but despite Intuit’s assurances that would happen, “the e-mail continued to arrive after the opt-out request.”

At one point, the management company got an e-mail from Intuit’s “Office of the President, stating, “We have looked into the matter and have closed [sic] your information to further updates effective immediately.”

Still, the e-mails continued, the complaint alleged.

PN said it dealt with the inability to send or receive e-mail during those times, computer crashes, system upgrade issues and loss of time to repair the procedures.

The complaint also explains that the subject lines on the e-mails appeared to be misleading, citing such statements as “Your Turbo Tax Order Confirmation TTL” when there was no order to be confirmed.

The case alleges fraud, violations of California’s unsolicited e-mail law, trespass, breach of contract and other allegations.

According to an online industry news source, an automatic software update provided by Intuit on its QuickBooks Pro for Mac program caused trouble for many users in a case about one year earlier.

“The update would fail partway through the process, alerting the user that ‘There is not enough space to install,'” the report said. “The updater would then delete the Desktop folder. The files were permanently deleted, not moved to the Trash.

“Intuit reportedly responded slowly to the problem at first, but later sent an e-mail message to at least some affected users offering assistance in recovering files using Prosoft’s $99 Data Rescue II,” the report said.

A subsequent class action lawsuit was filed at the time against Intuit for allegedly sending faulty software code, and the case was settled a few months later.

At the time the case was pending, Juan Loredo, owner of AGCJ Inc., described his situation when he got a software update from Intuit.

“Intuit has caused every computer user’s worst nightmare,” he said. “My company lost its invoicing, sales reports, inventories, day to day working files, pictures, and other files containing financial information. The files lost represent hundreds of hours of work.”

 


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