Kramer, III v. National Credit System, No. 12-1956 (8th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff alleged that NCS conducted a spam e-mail campaign that harmed his business, in violation of Iowa and federal law. After a bench trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of NCS and dismissed plaintiff's claims. The district court heard from plaintiff and NCS's principals in a bench trial and it found NCS's principals more credible than plaintiff. The court concluded that the evidence cited by plaintiff did not establish a clear error in the district court's determination. The court also concluded that the district court did not err by concluding that a salesman was an independent contractor rather than an employee of NCS. The court rejected plaintiff's contention that an employment relationship made NCS responsible for any e-mail activity by the salesman. The primary consideration was the hiring party's control over the means of performance and the court agreed with the district court that the weight of the evidence taken as a whole established an independent contractor agreement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.
Court Description: Civil Case - Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After a bench trial, judgment in favor of National Credit Systems on claim it conducted a spam e-mail campaign that harmed Kramer's business is affirmed. District court findings that NCS principals testimony were more credible are not clearly erroneous. Documentary evidence did not contradict testimony. District court did not err in concluding that NCS salesmen were independent contractors, not employees, as sales force was not obliged to follow manual or accept direction from principals and weight of evidence establishes an independent contractor arrangement.