Former President Donald Trump declared a “complete victory” after a federal judge ruled Tuesday that plaintiffs could not bring a class action lawsuit against him.
Trump entered into an endorsement agreement with ACN Opportunity LLC in 2006 to promote its marketing training services for independent business owners, New York City-based U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield recounted in her order denying the class action lawsuit.
A series of agreements followed that lasted until June 2015, the month he announced his presidential candidacy.
Three plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit that it was Trump’s endorsement that persuaded them to purchase ACN’s products.
Two of them said they earned no money from the venture, while another said she made just $38 over a two-year period.
The plaintiffs alleged that they did not realize Trump was being paid millions of dollars to endorse ACN.
Schofield ruled it would be impossible to define a class of individuals harmed by Trump’s endorsement because people can be convinced by a number of factors, including their individual inquiry into the company, other marketing materials and what people may have told them.
“The majority of the content on the Opportunity Discs [promoting the company] portrayed testimonials from various successful IBOs, highlighting how ACN has enabled them to have, for example, a relaxed work life, expensive cars, and large homes,” the judge explained.
“The nature of Trump’s alleged misstatements also raises individual questions of whether any given putative class member believed the statements and therefore relied on them,” Schofield added.
She further noted that “the record evidence shows that some IBOs knew or assumed Trump was a paid spokesperson.”
And the statements Trump made about ACN — such as it being a “great opportunity” and having a “winning business model” and a “proven track record” of “creating millionaires” — can be seen as typical advertising puffery and not outright misrepresentations.
In addition to denying the creation of a class action lawsuit, Schofield directed the three plaintiffs to submit briefs by Tuesday stating why their claims should not be severed from the others and transferred as individual suits to the appropriate district courts in California, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where they reside.
Trump responded to the judge’s ruling on Truth Social, writing, “Today we had a Total and Complete Victory against Far Left Lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, on her ridiculous ACN Class Action Suit, yet another Election Interference Case.”
“It was ruled that there can be no Class Action, and Certification was denied!” he added.
Kaplan represented E. Jean Carroll in her defamation civil suit against Trump in May regarding her client’s allegations that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s.
The former president has denied even knowing Carroll.
In his closing argument in May, Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina said Carroll’s story was bogus.
“The whole story is clearly an unbelievable work of fiction,” Tacopina said.
He said the tactic of the legal team representing Carroll was to have the jury hate Trump “enough to ignore the facts.”