October 6, 2010

Canadian court orders Facebook spammer to pay $437 million California punitive damages award

Two years ago, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California entered a judgment against Canadian resident Adam Guerbuez, ordering him to pay Facebook $873 million, half of which is punitive damages, for violating the "CAN-SPAM Act."  The Quebec Superior Court has now recognized the enforceability of that judgment in Canada, according to this report in the Montreal Gazette.

Mr. Guerbez doesn't seem all that concerned about the award.  In fact, he seems proud.  He's billing himself as "the $1 billion dollar man" on his personal blog.  He didn't bother to contest the suit, and I'm guessing he doesn't have $873 million laying around, so this may be another award that is more symbolic than anything else. 

As I have commented before, I fear that the publicity surrounding these massive but uncontested and uncollectible awards may be contributing to a culture that views 9-digit punitive damages awards as an accepted part of our legal system.