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Janson v LegalZoom

Janson v LegalZoom

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Aug 03, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/03/2011

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ORDERINTHEUNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTFORTHEWESTERNDISTRICTOFMISSOURICENTRALDIVISIONTODDJANSON,GERALD
T..
ARDREY,)CHADM.FERRELL,andC
&
J)REMODELINGLLC,onbehalfof)themselvesandallotherssimilarlysituated,))CaseNo..2:10-CV-04018-NKLPlaintiffs,))
v.)
)
LEGALZOOM..COM,INC.,)
)
Defendant)
)
BeforetheCourtaretheMotionforSummaryJudgment[Doc
#
100]filedbyDefendantLegatZoom.com,Inc..("LegaIZoom"),aswellastheMotionforPartialSummaryJudgment[Doc#88],MotiontoExcludeExpertTestimony[Doc,#86],andMotiontoStrike[Doc,#114]filedbytherepresentativePlaintiffsinthisclassaction.Forthefollowingreasons,theCourtgrantsLegalZoom'sMotionforSummaryJudgmentwithrespecttoPlaintiffs'claimsastheyrelatetopatentandtrademarkapplicationsanddeniesitinallotherrespects,TheCourtalso
gr
antsPlaintiffs'MotionforPartialSummaryJudgmentanddeniestheMotiontoStrikeandtheMotiontoExcludeExpertTestimonyastheyrelate
Case2:10-cv-04018~NKLDocument145Filed
08/02/11
Page1of31
tothe
Motionfor
Summary
Judgment.
I.Background
 
A.
RelevantUncontroverted
Facts!LegalZoomisaprivatelyheldcorporationwithitsprincipalplaceofbusiness
in
California.LegalZoommaintainsawebsite-wwwJegalzoomcom-whichoffersonlinelegaldocumentformsandservices..First,LegatZoom'swebsiteoffersblanklegalformsthatcustomersmaydownload,print,andfillinthemselves..AmongtheblanklegalformscustomersmaydownloadfromtheLegalZoomwebsiteareaffidavits,billsofsale,letters,releases,promissorynotes,andvarioustypesofagreements..Plaintiffsmakenoclaimwithrespecttotheseblanklegalformsthatcustomersmaydownload,print,andfill-inthemselves.Inadditiontosuchblank:forms,LegalZoom'swebsitealsooffersaninternetportal,whichisthesubjectofthisdispute..Withrespecttotheservicesofferedthroughtheinternetportal,LegalZoomhasairedatelevisionadvertisementstating:OveramillionpeoplehavediscoveredhoweasyitistouseLegalZoomforimportantlegaldocuments,andLegalZoomwillhelpyouincorporateyourbusiness,fileapatent,makeawillandmore..Youcancompleteouronlinequestionsinminutes,Thenwe'llprepareyourlegaldocumentsanddeliverthemdirectlytoyou,[Doc..
#
119at51..]AnotherLegalZoomadvertisementstates:Logonto
Legal.Zoom.
comandcheckoutfilingincorporationpapersforanewbusiness,Clickthetabmarked"Incorporations,LLCsandDBAs,."Thenclickthe"getstarted"button,andyou'rein,JustanswerafewsimpleonlinequestionsandLegalZoomtakesover.Yougetaqualitylegaldocumentfiledforyoubyrealhelpfulpeople..
2
I
TheCourthasconsideredtheparties'statementsofundisputedfactwhicharesupported
by
evidenceTheCourthasdrawnallinferencesinfavorofthenon-movant
Case2:10-cv-04018-NKLDocument145Filed
08/02/11
Page2of31
 
fd.
at52.TheseadvertisementsalsocontainLegalZoom'sdisclaimer:"LegalZoomisn'talawfirm.Theyprovideself-helpservicesatyourspecificdirection."
Id.
AmongthelegaldocumentsavailablethroughLegalZoom'sinternetportalarebusinessformationdocuments,estateplanningdocuments,petprotectionagreements,andcopyright,trademark,andpatentapplications.Aftermakinganinitialselection,thecustomerentersanswerstoquestionsviaa"branchingintakemechanism"(ordecisiontree),referredtoonthewebsiteasan"onlinequestionnaire"Customerstypeinanswerstothequestionscontainedintheonlinequestionnaire.
In
somecases,customersselectanalternativefromalistofchoicesorcheckboxesprovidedbyLegatZoorn.Thebranchingmechanismskipsquestionsforsectionsofthequestionnairethatareinapplicablebasedonthecustomer'sprioranswers..Forexample,thequestionnaireforalastwillandtestamentasksifthecustomerhaschildren;ifthecustomer'sansweris"no,"questionsaboutthecustomer'schildrenareskippedandthecustomeristakentoadifferentnextquestionthanifthecustomer'sanswerhadbeen"yes.."TheonlinequestionnaireprocessisfullyautomatedNoLegalZoomemployeeoffersorgivespersonalguidanceonansweringthequestions,althoughinformationrelevanttothecustomer'schoicesometimesappearsonthescreen..Forexample,whencompletingthequestionnairetopurchasealastwillandtestament,aquestionappears:"Wouldyouliketoprotectyourpersonalrepresentativefromliability?"Afterthequestion,thereappearsonthescreen:"Howdidmostpeopleanswerthisquestion?"followedby"yes"3
Case2:10-cv-0401S-NKL.Document145Filed
08/02/11
Page3of31

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