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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District court holds no private right of action under E-SIGN Act

Courts E-SIGN Act E-Signature Private Right of Action

Courts

On October 26, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado denied, in relevant part, an individual’s motion for summary judgement, holding that no private right of action exists under the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act. The plaintiff had asserted a violation of E-SIGN by an auto-dealership, who allegedly failed to advise the plaintiff of: (i) the right to receive paper copies (rather than electronic copies) of certain records; and (ii) the right to withdraw previously provided consent to receiving records in electronic form.

In ruling against the plaintiff’s motion, the court noted that where Congress creates specific means for enforcing a statute, a court will assume that Congress did not intend to allow any additional rights of action beyond those specified. When applied to the E-SIGN Act, the court found that no standalone remedy is necessary, as any violation of the E-SIGN Act would be “self-effectuating.” Any failure to “[d]emonstrate the proper consent for electronic service would only expose the party required to deliver the information in writing to whatever sanctions the law requiring written disclosure provides.” Therefore, the court found that “Congress appears to have provided no separate remedial scheme for violation of the E-SIGN Act's consent provisions, as no standalone remedy is necessary.”

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