Purple Snow v. Jacobsen
Seven small Montanan-owned businesses sued the Secretary of State for a policy that required customers to request refunds in writing even though the Secretary’s website had been double-charging customers for fees without their knowledge. The Secretary had made statements that misrepresent the extent of the overcharges and mislead customers, who had no reason to expect that a state agency would wrongfully withhold their money. The businesses sought injunctive relief requiring the Secretary of State to implement a lawful refund policy that alerts businesses when overcharges occur and automatically refunds the overcharged amount.
On April 18, 2023, the Court granted a motion for a consent decree that required the Secretary to establish and implement procedures to detect and, without requiring a customer request, refund overcharges and duplicate charges paid by customers.
Filings / Press
Maritsa Georgiou, Lawsuit claims Secretary of State's Office knowingly profited $120k off duplicate charges, NBC Montana, (Sept. 1, 2021)
Holly Michels, Lawsuit filed against Montana SOS over duplicate biz filing charges, Billings Gazette (Sept. 1, 2021)
Alex Sakariassen, Overcharge lawsuit against SOS underscores legislative concerns, Montana Free Press (Sept. 22, 2021)