Digital Ally Antitrust Claims Dismissed
Digital Ally sued TASER in February 2016 alleging TASER conspired with numerous municipalities to purchase its law enforcement body cameras with no-bid or sole-source contracts, effectively denying Digital and others market access in violation of both federal and state law. TASER filed a motion to dismiss those claims last March, arguing Digital's claims were barred by well-established Supreme Court precedent and Digital's failure to meet basic pleading requirements. Last week, the Kansas district court agreed, dismissing in full all asserted antitrust and unfair competition claims because “any legitimate use of the political process by private individuals” is exempt from antitrust liability.
“We are delighted with the court's ruling,” said Doug Klint, TASER's General Counsel. “We have asked Digital to immediately cancel the premature document subpoenas served on numerous TASER customers. This unnecessary waste of government resources must stop now.” Last fall Digital pushed the court to lift a discovery stay while TASER's motion to dismiss remained under advisement. TASER opposed the move, arguing it would place undue (and likely unwarranted) burden on third-party government entities not involved in the litigation. Hastily celebrating the court's lack of authority to keep the stay in place long term, Digital served oppressive document requests on the cities of Memphis, Wichita, Albuquerque, Fort Worth, San Diego, New Orleans, and Chandler (AZ). Those subpoenas should now be recalled.
TASER has always considered Digital's unfair competition claims an abuse of process. Digital initially sued TASER for alleged patent infringement of its auto-activation camera technology. It then immediately contacted TASER about possibly purchasing Digital's law enforcement division. (See page 52 of the motion to dismiss.) When TASER declined Digital's buyout overture, Digital filed an amended complaint adding six new claims for supposedly anti-competitive behavior. With the dismissal of these claims, only the patent claims remain.
“Of course we want to win deals,” said TASER CEO Rick Smith. “But we also win with integrity. We have superior end-to-end law enforcement solutions from our Axon cameras to our Evidence.com digital cloud-based management platform. We have incredible sales and customer service teams. And TASER was a trusted partner of law enforcement long before the body-worn camera boom. We are not going to apologize for that. In fact, TASER's technology summits have been instrumental in educating law enforcement to the innumerable benefits of this new technology, which helps the entire industry,” Smith said.