This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
: _________________________ CLASS REPRESENTATION HERSSEIN LAW GROUP, A Florida corporation, On its own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. REED ELSEVIER INC., A Massachusetts corporation, Defendant. __________________________________/ CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT Plaintiff Herssein Law Group (“Plaintiff”) brings this Class Action Complaint against Defendant Reed Elsevier Inc. (“Defendant”), seeking to stop Defendant’s unlawful practice of charging an Annual Maintenance Plan (“AMP”) fee to purchasers of LexisNexis’ PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters software prior to May 1, 2010, when AMP became effective. Purchasers of the software prior to May 2010 were already entitled to software updates, bug fixes, and software that worked, should not be required to pay an annual AMP fee for a mere continuation of services. Updates, bug fixes, and operational software were already bargained for when the software was purchased prior to May 2010. These purchasers should also be reimbursed the mandatory annual AMP fees previously paid to Defendant, and Defendant should be enjoined from charging AMP fees to those who purchased software prior to May 1, 2010.
JURISDICTION, VENUE & PARTIES 1. Plaintiff is a Florida Corporation and has been Defendant’s customer since 2007, when it
purchased Defendant’s “Time Matters” software. 2. Defendant Reed Elsevier Inc. is a Massachusetts corporation with its principal place of Under the name “LexisNexis,” Defendant markets office
business in Massachusetts.
management software to consumers, including PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters 3. Venue is proper because Defendant regularly and systematically transacts business in
Miami-Dade County. Defendant provided services, billed Plaintiff, and charged an AMP fee in Miami-Dade County. 4. Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 48.193 because Defendant is a foreign
corporation authorized to do business in Miami-Dade County, is doing business in Miami-Dade County, and has registered with the Florida Secretary of State. By conducting business in Miami-Dade County, Defendant has sufficient minimum contacts with Miami-Dade County, or has otherwise availed itself of consumers residing in Miami-Dade County through systematic sale of, and provision of, its services. Moreover, Defendant has been unjustly enriched from its customers in Miami-Dade County based on the conduct outlined below. BACKGROUND AND BUSINESS CONDUCT FACTS 5. Defendant Reed Elsevier Inc., through its LexisNexis name brand, has sold and serviced
PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters office management software to consumers both before and after May 1, 2010. 6. Effective May 2010, Defendant’s Annual Maintenance Plan (“AMP”) policy required
“all PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters customers to have an active, in-force Annual
Maintenance Plan (AMP) in order to receive updated software and technical support.” See https://www.lexisnexis.com/terms/practice-management-software-policy.aspx. 7. The AMP fee must be paid by consumers who purchase PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing
Matters office management software both before and after May 1, 2010. 8. Essentially, payment of the AMP fee ensures that PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing
Matters software continue to work properly for Defendant’s consumers, or as stated on Defendant’s website, ensures “continuous operation,” of this software. See id. 9. Purchasers prior to May 2010, prior to the time the AMP fee came into effect, bought
installed and began using PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing Matters software relying on Defendant’s representations, and implied warranties, that the software worked properly, and would continue to work properly - this was part of the bargain. 10. Purchasers of this software prior to May 2010 enjoyed technical support and
maintenance, bug fixes, updates, etc., from Defendant, simply by virtue of having purchased the software, and Defendant’s duty to ensure that its products work properly. 11. Nevertheless, a February 1, 2010 AMP policy revision, under a section titled, “What
Happens if I don’t subscribe to an AMP” states that “Without an AMP subscription you could … risk an interruption to your business.” 12. Defendant charges the AMP fee to purchasers of its software prior to May 1, 2010 for a
mere continuation that the software works properly. It is a needless add-on charge billed to longtime customers who purchased the software already reasonably relying on “continuous operation” and standard bug fixes to ensure functionality of the software. 13. Moreover, the consumer of the software, even after paying the AMP fee, must hire and
pay an additional charge to a LexisNexis certified “independent consultant” to implement
software upgrades and changes. Defendant does not supply adequate support and time (e.g. remote log-in) to resolve these issues, even after payment of the AMP fee by the consumer. 14. The annual AMP fee is mandatory, even for purchasers of the software prior to May
2010: “A customer who does not have an AMP or whose AMP has lapsed will be required to pay an AMP reinstatement fee, in addition to the standard AMP plan price, if the customer does not order an AMP on or before April 30, 2010. Effective March 1, 2010, first time software orders can only be made in conjunction with an AMP.” See id. 15. The AMP fee that must be paid by those who purchased the software prior to May 2010
is considerably expensive: for time matters purchasers, $360 per year for the first user of the firm/business, plus $155 for each additional user. 16. This “additional user” charge is a needless multiplication of the already pricy and annual
AMP fee, and especially burdensome for larger firms and businesses using the software. When there is a bug or other problem with the software, it has an effect on all users of the product within the firm or business using the LexisNexis software equally. FACTS RELATING TO NAMED PLAINTIFF 17. In 2007 Plaintiff, a law firm purchased Defendant’s Time Matters practice management
software. 18. As a purchaser of this software prior to May 1, 2010, Plaintiff relied on Defendant’s
representations and implied warranties that Time Matters worked properly and would continue to work properly, and that Defendant would provide bug fixes, updates, etc., as consideration for the sale.
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Plaintiff paid Defendant the AMP fee, which included a hefty
“additional user” charges referenced above in ¶ 14, because the law firm employed roughly 25 additional users each year. 20. In summer 2013, Plaintiff was billed $4,080, based on the first user plus 24 additional
users employed by the law firm, for the AMP. 21. An email communication from Defendant’s agent, reminding that the AMP needed to be
renewed, stated that “As a reminder, in order to continue to receive software upgrades, maintenance and support you must have an active Annual Maintenance Plan in place.” 22. These are services that Plaintiff enjoyed prior to Defendant’s implementation of the AMP
fee for its existing customers in May 2010. CLASS REPRESENTATIVE ALLEGATIONS 23. Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant on behalf of itself and all other persons
similarly situated. Plaintiff seeks to represent the following class: All individuals who purchased Defendant’s PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing Matters software prior to May 1, 2010, and paid a mandatory Annual Maintenance Plan fee to Defendant for continuation of these services subsequent to May 1, 2010, when the Annual Maintenance Plan policy became effective. 24. Excluded from the class are Defendant, its agents and legal representatives, its assigns
and successors, and any entity in which Defendant has a controlling interest. 25. Plaintiff reserves the right to modify and/or amend the definition of the proposed class
before the Court determines if class certification is appropriate. Numerosity 26. 27. The Class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable. Defendant’s LexisNexis name brand is a global leader in providing practice management
services and software to law practices. Defendant’s website tells consumers to “Trust the award5
winning billing and accounting, financial management and practice management software solutions used by more than 40,000 organizations worldwide.” Commonality 28. There are questions of law and fact that are common to Plaintiff and the Class Members’
claims. These common questions predominate over any questions that go particularly to any individual member of the class. Among such questions are the following: a) Whether consumers who purchased PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing Matters software prior to May 1, 2010 should have to pay a mandatory AMP fee for continuation of these services; b) Whether consumers who purchased PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing Matters software prior to May 1, 2010 should be reimbursed for their prior AMP fees paid to Defendant; c) Whether Defendant’s conduct, in charging and receiving an mandatory AMP fee from its customers in these circumstances constitutes unjust enrichment; d) Whether this conduct violates Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Typicality 29. The Class Members’ claims are typical of each other’s claims because of the similarity,
uniformity and common purpose of Defendant’s conduct. 30. Each Class Member has sustained damages in the same way, by being charged and
paying an AMP fee for continuation of services. Adequacy 31. Plaintiff is an adequate representative of the Class and will fairly represent the interest of
the class. Plaintiff is a law firm with knowledge of consumer protection and contract matters.
There is no conflict between Plaintiff and the unnamed Class Members, and Plaintiff has the time, knowledge and resources to adequately represent the class. 32. Plaintiff is represented by competent counsel with vast experience in complex civil Plaintiff’s counsel has ample
litigation that is committed to the prosecution of this case.
financial and legal resources to meet the demands of class action litigation. Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220(b)(3) Allegations 33. The questions of law or fact common to Plaintiff’s and each Class Member’s claims
predominate over any questions of law or fact affecting only individual class members. 34. All claims brought by Plaintiff and the unnamed Class Members are based on
Defendant’s conduct of charging an AMP fee to those who purchased its software prior to May 1, 2010, just so that the software continues to work properly, and to prevent “a risk [of] interruption to . . . business.” 35. Common issues predominate because liability can be determined on a class-wide basis
when the Court determines the propriety of charging an AMP fee in these circumstances. Therefore, common questions predominate over individual questions. 36. Class representation is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient
adjudication of this controversy for the following reasons: a) Multiple separate lawsuits would be wasteful in light of the sheer volume of Defendant’s customers. b) Joinder of all class members would create hardship, inconvenience and undue expense, as Defendant markets and provides legal support services and PCLaw, Time Matters or Billing Matters software throughout the United States.
c) There are no known individual Class Members who are interested in controlling the prosecution of separate actions. d) This action is manageable as a class action. Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.220 (b) (1 & 2) 37. The prosecution of separate actions by the individual Class Members would create a risk
of inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual Class Members that would establish incompatible standards of conduct for Defendant. 38. Defendant has acted in a manner generally applicable to the Class, making injunctive or
declaratory relief with respect to the Class as a whole appropriate. COUNT I: UNJUST ENRICHMENT 39. 40. Plaintiff incorporates the previous allegations by reference. Plaintiff and the Class Members conferred a benefit on Defendant by paying a mandatory
AMP fee for continued operation of LexisNexis’ PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters software. 41. Defendant has knowledge of and accepted and retained the conferred benefit by billing
this AMP fee to existing customers that purchased the software prior to May 1, 2010 and accepting payments from Plaintiff and the Class Members, in the form of annual AMP fees, and reinstatement fees. 42. 43. Under the circumstances, it would be inequitable for Defendant to retain the benefit. Specifically, Defendant should not retain AMP fee payments and reinstatement fee
payments from Plaintiff and the Class Members for mere continued operation of the software. COUNT II: DECEPTIVE AND UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES UNDER FLA STAT. § 501.201, et seq. 44. Plaintiff incorporates the previous allegations by reference.
Fla. Stat. § 501.204 provides a private cause of action for those harmed by “[u]nfair
methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts in the conduct of any trade or commerce . . .”. 46. Defendant’s PCLaw, Time Matters and Billing Matters consumers seek protection under
the FDUTPA Statute from Defendant’s unfair practices involving charging an AMP fee to purchasers of the software prior to May 1, 2010, so that the software would continue working and to prevent “a risk [of] interruption to . . . business.” 47. When the consumers purchased the software, Plaintiff and other consumers in the class
relied on Defendant’s representations and implied warranties that the software worked properly and would continue to work properly, and that Defendant would provide bug fixes, updates, etc., as consideration for the sale of the software. 48. Defendant deceptively presents its AMP policy as something new and useful, when in
reality, simply ensures “continuous operation” of the software. 49. But payment of the AMP fee, in and of itself, does not even ensure “continuous
operation” and proper maintenance of the software. The consumer of the software, even after paying the AMP fee, must hire and pay an additional charge to a LexisNexis certified “independent consultant” to implement software upgrades and changes. Defendant does not supply adequate support and time (e.g. remote log-in) to resolve these issues, even after payment of the AMP fee by the consumer. 50. Defendant’s conduct is unfair, unconscionable and deceptive when it charges its
customers that existed prior to May 1, 2010, such as Plaintiff and the Class Members, AMP fees and Reinstatement fees simply so that the software will continue to work properly.
Defendant’s conduct is unfair, unconscionable and deceptive in that the “additional user”
charge that Defendant charges per user at a firm or business in addition to the initial charge is a needless multiplication of the already pricy and annual AMP fee, and especially burdensome for larger firms and businesses using the software. When there is a bug or other problem with the software, it has an effect on all users of the product within the firm or business using the LexisNexis software equally. There are no “single user” bugs, so the “additional user” charge results in a windfall to Defendant, with no added burden to it. 52. A reasonable consumer would not think that he or she would or should be charged an
AMP fee in such circumstances, given that when the software was purchased prior to May 1, 2010, it was supposed to [continue to] work properly and bug fixes, and other bug fixes to issues as well as upgrades were included in the bargain for the purchase of the software. 53. A reasonable consumer would not have purchased the software with the knowledge that
in the future, if the consumer wanted to keep the software – and therefore its business – operational, it would have to pay a similar fee, per user, year after year. 54. 55. Thus, Defendant has violated Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Statute. Plaintiff and the Class Members are thus entitled to all relief stated in Fla. Stat. §
501.2105 & Fla. Stat. § 501.211, including a declaratory judgment that it is unfair and deceptive, within the meaning of the Statute, to charge an annual AMP fee to those who purchased the software prior to May 1, 2010, and an injunction preventing further similar practices by Defendant. DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL 56. Plaintiff requests jury trial of all claims that can be so tried.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Herssein Law Group, on its own behalf and on behalf of the Class, prays for the following relief: a) Certification of this case as a Class Action on behalf of the Class defined above and to appoint Herssein Law Group as Class Representative and lead counsel; b) Declare that Defendant was unjustly enriched by the above-described conduct; c) Declare that Defendant violated Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Statute in light of the above-described conduct; d) Enter Judgment against Defendant for all economic, monetary, actual, consequential and compensatory damages on behalf of the class, based on Defendant’s conduct; e) Award Plaintiff and the Class reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees; f) Award Plaintiff and the Class pre- and post-judgment interest; and g) Enter an injunction requiring a corrective measure to be taken to prevent Defendant from charging AMP fees to those who purchased its software prior to May 1, 2010; and h) All other relief, in law and equity, deemed appropriate by this Court. Dated: July 16, 2013 Respectfully submitted, HERSSEIN LAW GROUP 12000 Biscayne Boulevard Suite 402 North Miami, Florida 33181 Telephone No: (305) 531-1431 Facsimile No: (305) 531-1433 Miamieservice@hersseinlaw.com
_______________________________ REUVEN HERSSEIN, ESQUIRE FBN 0461504 Attorneys for Plaintiff
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.