Overruling its previous decisions which held that a defendant’s full offer of compensation to a named plaintiff in a class action mooted the action, the Seventh Circuit held in Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015), that “Justice Kagan’s dissent in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1532-37 (2013)…, shows that an expired (and unaccepted) offer of judgment does not satisfy the Court’s definition of mootness, because relief remains possible.”
This particular case arose under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which provides the context for the current offer of judgment action before the U.S. Supreme Court, Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez (see my July 23, 2015 post).
The Seventh Circuit concluded that a rejected offer of judgment does not render an action moot. Instead, as the Court put it: “The question raised… is whether a spurned offer of complete compensation should be deemed an affirmative defense, perhaps in the nature of an estoppel or a waiver.”
The opinion, written by Judge Easterbrook (and before Judges Posner and Manion as well), goes to great lengths to champion Justice Kagan’s dissent in Genesis, and may wind up factoring into the Supreme Court’s thinking as it now considers the Campbell-Ewald case.