A November 1 ruling based on 2-year statutes of limitations has put an end to a tree trimmer’s class action lawsuit against Angie’s List, squelching claims that the website misrepresents itself as an unbiased review site.
U.S. District Judge Holly L. Teeter in Teeter determined the Angie’s List class action lawsuit could not bring claims forward under the Lanham Act and the Kansas Consumer Protection Act because they surpassed the statutes of limitations that applied in the laws.
Steve Strauss, owner of Classic Tree Care Inc., filed the false advertising class action lawsuit in 2017. Between 2005 and 2013, Strauss spent more than $200,000 in advertising on Angie’s List.
In his case, Strauss argued that the amount a business spends with Angie’s List influences their rankings on the site, and so the company misrepresents its website when calling it a place to find unbiased customer reviews. Strauss also alleged that after a 2016 disagreement, Angie’s List “buried” his listing and misrepresented his business as having received no ratings or reviews.
The Angie’s List class action lawsuit had filed claims under the Lanham Act, and U.S. District Judge Holly L. Teeter determined that a two-year statute of limitations filed under that Act should be used because a comparable state law has a two-year statute of limitations.
“Plaintiff Strauss has been aware of the ability of service providers to manipulate their placement within search results on Defendant’s website since 2005,” the court wrote in its findings. “Plaintiff Strauss was not only aware of Defendant’s practice of placing advertising (fee-paying) service providers higher in search results, he personally took advantage of the practice from 2005 to 2016 by engaging Defendant’s advertising services.”
The court did not rule on the charges of the negative misrepresentation from Angie’s List, aside from saying the activity took place before the statute of limitations. “The reason for this publication is in dispute, but the period during which it occurred is not,” the judge ruled.