Maryland Judge Orders Damages Against N.Y. Spammer
Those annoying e-mails offering home financing deals or other offers can violate Maryland law, even if they’re sent from out of state, a state appeals court has ruled. Court of Special Appeals Judge Sally D. Adkins sided with a law student who argued that he could sue a New York e-mail marketer who sent him advertising messages. The decision, issued Thursday, overturns a lower court ruling that Maryland’s 2002 Commercial Electronic Mail Act was unconstitutional because it sought to regulate commerce outside state borders.
Judge Adkins, in a 60-page decision, blasted the spammer’s claims that he should not be punished for violating Maryland law because he had no way of knowing whether his e-mails would be opened in Maryland. “This allegation has little more validity than one who contends he is not guilty of homicide when he shoots a rifle into a crowd of people without picking a specific target, and someone dies,” the judge wrote.
Actually, that’s a pretty weak argument. Someone who sends an e-mail from one state should not be subject to penalties imposed by other states. Indeed, it is not clear to me why a Maryland court would have jurisdiction in a case against an unwilling out-of-state defendant.