Emory Law Journal

Changing the Rule Changes the Game: A Rule 68 Offer for Complete Relief Should Never Moot an Individual’s Claim
David Marc Rothenberg Notes & Comments Editor, Emory Law Journal; J.D., Emory University School of Law (2016); B.A., University of Maryland, College Park (2012). I am truly grateful to my faculty advisor Professor Jonathan Nash, and the members of the Emory Law Journal Executive Board, particularly Rebecca Hall and Matt Johnson, for their insightful and thorough feedback. As this Comment focused on an active circuit split, it took extra effort to keep it up-to-date. Thank you to my parents Adina and Clive for being incredible role models and for their unconditional love and support. Also, to my grandfather Harold Goodman for encouraging my intellectual curiosity and improving my writing skills. Finally, to my fiancé Matya for her ceaseless motivation and patience as I pondered the benefits of Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Abstract

Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was enacted to encourage settlement and avoid litigation. Rule 68 works in the following way: defendant makes a “Rule 68 offer” to plaintiff for a settlement, plaintiff rejects this offer, wins the case, but is awarded less monetary compensation than was offered in the settlement. In this scenario, plaintiff must pay both his and defendant’s post-offer litigation costs. Although Rule 68 was designed to facilitate settlements, defendants have attempted to use Rule 68 offers to moot individuals’ claims. These defendants argue that by offering their understanding of complete relief to a plaintiff, the claim should be mooted. In the past four decades, a circuit split has arisen over whether Rule 68 offers can moot claims and whether judgment should be entered for the plaintiff or the defendant.

This Comment advocates for the adoption of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Diaz v. First American Home Buyers Protection Corp.—referred to in this Comment as the Diaz approach—which states that a Rule 68 offer never moots an individual’s claim. This Comment explores relevant historical jurisprudence that has led to the various legal theories involving mootness in Rule 68 offers. Recent decisions highlight the rise in use of the Diaz approach, and this Comment describes the benefits of the Ninth Circuit’s holding. The four primary benefits of the Diaz approach are that it (1) satisfies both textualist and purposivist ideologies regarding Rule 68, (2) upholds fundamental aspects of contract theory, (3) resolves the mootness jurisdictional issue by creating a bright-line test, and (4) deters negative behavior. Although this approach has two potential drawbacks—namely, excessive litigation and non-mutual offensive issue preclusion—the alternative approaches suffer from flaws that Diaz solves. Ultimately, this Comment concludes that by applying the Diaz approach to Rule 68 offers, courts will return Rule 68 to its intended goal: incentivizing settlements without burdening the courts.

Introduction

Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 1Fed R. Civ. P. 68; see infra Part I.A for a description of the procedure for using Rule 68. encourages parties to reach a settlement with limited judicial involvement. 2See Steven S. Gensler, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Rules and Commentary 1268 (2010) (explaining that Rule 68 encourages settlement through cost-shifting); see also Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985). While one would think that a plaintiff should be free to accept or reject a settlement offer, defendants have attempted to prove otherwise. Rule 68 has become a tool used by defendants to convince judges to moot plaintiffs’ claims. 3See infra Part II.B–E (exploring cases where defendants attempted to moot claims using Rule 68). The circuit courts are currently divided over whether a Rule 68 offer can moot a claim and which party should receive the judgment. 4See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528–29 (2013); see also Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 951–53 (9th Cir. 2013). This year, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 5See 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). In Gomez, the plaintiff brought personal and putative class action claims against the defendant, a marketing company, for sending unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy. Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871, 873 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). The district court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion, holding that the defendant was immune from liability under the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity. Id. at 874. In addition to disagreeing with the district court’s derivative sovereign immunity holding, the Ninth Circuit held that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief does not moot a claim. Id. at 874–75. The court applied the precedent established by Diaz. Id. This Comment supports the Diaz decision and recommends that the Supreme Court adopt this position. which should firmly decide this issue. 6See Gomez, 768 F.3d 871; Petition for Writ of Certiorari at i, Campbell-Ewald, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (No. 14-857), 2015 WL 241891, at *i (requesting certiorari by the Supreme Court for three questions, including “[w]hether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim”). However, Campbell-Ewald might not resolve the Rule 68 question because the Court could decide the case based on the third question presented: “Whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity recognized in Yearsley v. W.A. Ross Construction Co., 309 U.S. 18 (1940), for government contractors is restricted to claims arising out of property damaged by public works projects.” Id. If the Court rules on derivative sovereign immunity grounds, then it will not need to answer the mootness question. The Court will likely resolve the mootness dispute, however, because of the three-way circuit split that currently exists. See infra Part II.B–E. Granting certiorari for this issue has also led to a significant flurry of articles about the circuit split. See, e.g., BuckleySandler LLP, Supreme Court Grants Cert. to Decide if Offer of Complete Relief Moots Case, JD Supra Bus. Advisor (May 26, 2015), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/supreme-court-grants-cert-to-decide-if-46489/; Michael F. Dolan et al., Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in TCPA Case that May Determine Whether an Offer of Complete Relief Moots a Class Action, Jones Day (May 2015), http://www.jonesday.com/supreme-court-grants-certiorari-in-tcpa-case-that-may-determine-whether-an-offer-of-complete-relief-moots-a-class-action-05-22-2015/; Richard B. Katskee & Brian D. Netter, Supreme Court Docket Report—May 18, 2015, Mondaq (May 19, 2015), http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/398416/trials+appeals+compensation/upreme+Court+Docket+Report+May+18+2015; Lawrence I. Weinstein & James Unger, Clarification for Class Action Settlements May Be on the Line as Supreme Court Grants Cert in TCPA Case, Nat’l L. Rev. (July 16, 2015), http://www.natlawreview.com/article/clarification-class-action-settlements-may-be-line-supreme-court-grants-cert-tcpa-ca. This Comment urges the Court to resolve this circuit split because anyone with a phone, insurance plan, or credit score will be affected by the outcome of the Campbell-Ewald case.

Take this situation for example: Congratulations, you graduated from law school! Getting into law school required sacrificing time and money for the prospect of a more lucrative profession. You always paid your bills on time because you never wanted a blot on your record. Now that you have received your cushy salary at a top law firm, you put a deposit on your dream home. You go to the bank to get a loan, and the loan officer tells you that two out of your three credit scores are excellent. However, TransUnion, a credit reporting agency, gave you a poor credit rating. You are furious—someone else’s error has ruined your credit score. While you are attempting to correct this error, your dream home has been purchased, and you are stuck in your parents’ basement.

TransUnion considers these careless errors to be a regular part of the business. You sue TransUnion to recover the lost deposit on your dream home and loan fees, and you discover that credit reporting agencies commonly misreport individuals’ credit scores. TransUnion offers you monetary damages in a confidential settlement. If you accept the confidential settlement, TransUnion will likely continue its methods without addressing the need to reduce these errors. Although you are unable to certify a class action, you want a judgment—on the record—that will incentivize TransUnion to reduce these mistakes that carelessly ruin peoples’ credit scores. 7Cf. McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340–41 (2d Cir. 2005) (involving a plaintiff who wanted a precedent, in addition to the monetary relief, for the defendant’s negligent reporting of his credit score). This Comment recognizes that the case refers to the party as “Trans Union L.L.C.”; however, the company currently identifies itself online as “TransUnion.”

Instead of suffering the embarrassment of an adverse judgment that could be used as precedent in future cases, TransUnion offers you monetary damages for the costs you incurred. TransUnion makes this offer using Rule 68. 8See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68. You reject the offer. TransUnion argues that because it made an offer for “complete relief,” this case should be mooted. Should your claim be mooted? Besides credit report agencies, this scenario involving Rule 68 offers has applied to cases with debt collectors, 9See Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365 (4th Cir. 2012); Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011); Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004). insurance agencies, 10See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 2013). corporations, 11See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). telemarketers, 12See Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). and even an NFL team that sent over 100,000 unsolicited faxes. 13See Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698 (11th Cir. 2014).

While these defendants argue that Rule 68 offers for complete relief should moot a plaintiff’s claims, this Comment will show that these tactics encourage continuous litigation and frustrate settlements. Several circuit courts accept the premise that a Rule 68 offer can moot a claim, but other circuit courts have dismissed the idea. 14See Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015) (“Six other circuit courts have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all requested relief can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim. . . . we agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.”); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The federal courts of appeals are split on this question. The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant. On the other hand, the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, the two courts of appeals that have considered this question most recently, have reached the opposite conclusion.”); Diaz, 732 F.3d at 952–54. Moreover, circuit courts that have accepted the idea that a Rule 68 offer can moot a claim disagree over whether judgment should be rendered on behalf of the plaintiff or the defendant. 15See infra Part II.B–C (detailing the circuit split over whether the judgment should be entered for the defendant or the plaintiff once the claim is rendered moot by a Rule 68 offer).

This Comment addresses this circuit split and answers two questions: 16This Comment does not address the issue of using Rule 68 offers to “pick off” individual claimants prior to class certification. See, e.g., Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011); Sandoz v. Cingular Wireless L.L.C., 553 F.3d 913 (5th Cir. 2008); Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004). Even if a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim, the pick-off strategy with Rule 68 offers is likely over. See Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“Six other circuit courts have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all requested relief can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim. In none of those circuits, however, did such a holding result in a putative class action being mooted.”). Further, while this Comment discusses cases with class certification—and while the Diaz approach would effectively end the pick-off strategy in Rule 68 offers—this strategy has received greater attention. See, e.g., M. Andrew Campanelli, Note, You Can Pick Your Friends, but You Cannot Pick Off the Named Plaintiff of a Class Action: Mootness and Offers of Judgment Before Class Certification, 4 Drexel L. Rev. 523 (2012); David Hill Koysza, Note, Preventing Defendants from Mooting Class Actions by Picking Off Named Plaintiffs, 53 Duke L.J. 781 (2003). More importantly, the Supreme Court recently held that when an individual’s claim is mooted in connection to a class action in a Rule 68 offer, the claim must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1532 (2013). In Genesis, the Supreme Court explicitly left open the question that this Comment wishes to resolve: whether a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim. Id. at 1528–29. (1) whether an unaccepted Rule 68 offer for complete relief moots an individual’s claim; and if so, (2) whether the judgment should be entered for the plaintiff or defendant. 17See Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1528–29; see also Diaz, 732 F.3d at 951–53.

This Comment advocates for the adoption of the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Diaz v. First American Home Buyers Protection Corp., which this Comment refers to as the Diaz approach. 18732 F.3d at 954–55. In Diaz, the court adopted the reasoning espoused in Justice Kagan’s dissent in Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk 19133 S. Ct. at 1535 (Kagan, J., dissenting). and held that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer never moots an individual’s claim. 20Diaz, 732 F.3d at 954–55.

Part I of this Comment introduces Rule 68 and the basic concept of mootness. Part II then explores decisions in the Supreme Court and several circuit courts that influenced the debate over mootness in Rule 68 offers. This Part also explains the developments that ultimately led to the Diaz approach. With the different approaches provided, Part III surveys the benefits of applying the Diaz approach. By applying the Diaz approach, rather than the two alternatives, this Comment shows that courts will adhere to the following four principles: (1) textualist and purposivist ideals, 21See infra Part III.A. (2) fundamental contract theory concepts, 22See infra Part III.B. (3) bright-line jurisdictional rules, 23See infra Part III.C. and (4) deterrence against negative behavior. 24See infra Part III.D. Next, Part IV responds to two central criticisms of the Diaz approach: excessive litigation and non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. Part V then evaluates the two alternative approaches and describes their shortcomings. Finally, this Comment concludes that the Supreme Court should adopt the Diaz approach in its upcoming Campbell-Ewald case 25See supra note 6 and accompanying text. because it provides the most beneficial solution. 26See infra Conclusion.

I. Background

A. Rule 68

Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was enacted “to encourage settlement and avoid litigation.” 27Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985); see also 12 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3001 (3d ed. 2014) (describing the history and purpose of Rule 68). At its inception, Rule 68 provided a mechanism to achieve this purportedly simple result. 28See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68. Using Rule 68, a defendant can offer a specified amount directly to the plaintiff in order to settle a claim. 29Gensler, supra note 2, at 1269–70. The amount offered does not need to be a dollar figure. Id. at 1271. However, the offer must be specific enough that the “plaintiff can calculate the actual benefit.” Id. Further, the offer may include terms of declaratory or injunctive relief. Id. The plaintiff may accept or reject the offer. 30Id. at 1269. If the plaintiff accepts the offer, judgment is entered for the plaintiff. 31Id. at 1270. Rule 68(a) describes the appropriate procedures for making and accepting a Rule 68 offer:Making an Offer; Judgment on an Accepted Offer. At least 14 days before the date set for trial, a party defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued. If, within 14 days after being served, the opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer, either party may then file the offer and notice of acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter judgment.Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a).

Not all Rule 68 offers are accepted. How Rule 68 “encourage[s] settlement” is demonstrated when a plaintiff rejects a Rule 68 offer and then wins the case, but the final judgment is less than the amount offered by the defendant. 32Id. at 1267 (practice commentary). Rule 68 is inapplicable when the defendant wins. Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. August, 450 U.S. 346, 352 (1981) (“[Rule 68] is simply inapplicable to this case because it was the defendant that obtained the judgment.”). If that happens, the plaintiff must (1) pay his post-offer costs and (2) pay the defendant’s post-offer costs. 33Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267. Post-offer costs always include statutory costs, like filing fees and court reporter fees. Id. They can include attorneys’ fees when the relevant statute defines them as “costs.” Id. Rule 68(d) describes these costs’ consequences for the plaintiff: “Paying Costs After an Unaccepted Offer. If the judgment that the offeree finally obtains is not more favorable than the unaccepted offer, the offeree must pay the costs incurred after the offer was made.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(d). The following example illustrates this situation: Paul sues David for $500, and David makes a Rule 68 offer to Paul for $300. Paul declines the offer and wins the lawsuit, but he is only awarded $200. In this scenario, Paul must pay David’s filing and court reporter fees in addition to his own, and Paul may have to pay David’s attorneys’ fees as well.

While accepted offers allow a clerk to enter the agreed-upon judgment for the claimant, Rule 68(b) provides that any unaccepted offers are considered withdrawn. 34Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267 (“An unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn, but it does not preclude a later offer.”). Rule 68(b) continues by stating that the offering party may make additional offers, but all Rule 68 offers are inadmissible as evidence except to determine costs. 35Id. Rule 68(b) states that “[a]n unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn, but it does not preclude a later offer. Evidence of an unaccepted offer is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.” Id. This language is glossed over by the circuit courts that accept Rule 68 offers can moot claims. See infra Part II.B–C. The plain language in Rule 68 should preclude a defendant from contending that an offer can be considered in judicial rulings.

The drafters created Rule 68 with the intention of reducing courthouse clutter. 36See Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 23 (1985) (Brennan, J., dissenting). Just like all of the other Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the drafters wanted Rule 68 to have a “uniform, consistent application in all proceedings in federal court.” Id. The drafters favored rules that simplified the proceedings. See id. Although nothing in Rule 68 discusses mootness, defendants make Rule 68 offers for small individual claims to halt them before they become bigger monetary cases, such as in class actions. 37Cf. Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 700–01 (11th Cir. 2014); Peter Jamison, Unwanted Faxes Could Create $270M Headache for Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Times (June 21, 2013, 4:54 PM), http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/unwanted–faxes–could–create–270–million–headache–for–tampa–bay–buccaneers/2127955; see also supra note 16. These defendants argue that Rule 68 offers for complete monetary relief moot individuals’ claims because such offers encourage settlement and avoid litigation. 38See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1278–81. On the contrary, this Comment will demonstrate that by allowing defendants to moot claims using Rule 68 as a shield, courts frustrate the simple mechanical formula of Rule 68. 39Fed. R. Civ. P. 68. The Diaz approach corrects this inflated interpretation.

B. Basic Mootness Doctrine

As discussed in section A, Rule 68 offers for complete relief raise questions involving mootness. 40See supra Part I.A. Mootness occurs when there is no longer a live controversy between two parties. 41See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))). The mootness doctrine arises from the Constitution, 42“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases . . . [and] Controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1. and its flexibility lends itself to considerable debate about its reach. 43See, e.g., 13B Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3533.1 (“There is reason to wonder whether much reliance should be placed on constitutional concepts of mootness when these concepts are as flexible as they are.”); Note, The Mootness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, 88 Harv. L. Rev. 373 (1974) (“The broadly phrased case or controversy requirement leaves the Court with substantial discretion to determine whether a case is justiciable in borderline situations.”); Corey C. Watson, Comment, Mootness and the Constitution, 86 Nw. U. L. Rev. 143, 143 (1991) (“The Supreme Court’s decision in Honig v. Doe is a recent reminder of the confusion and disagreement surrounding the doctrine of mootness.”). The Constitution restricts the federal courts’ jurisdiction to “cases and controversies.” 44Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528 (2013). Once a case is rendered moot, federal courts no longer have jurisdiction over it. 45See Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 721, 726–27 (2013) (“A case becomes moot—and therefore no longer a ‘Case’ or ‘Controversy’ for purposes of Article III—‘when the issues presented are no longer “live” or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.’” (quoting Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481(1982) (per curiam))); Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 317 (1988) (“Under Article III of the Constitution this Court may only adjudicate actual, ongoing controversies.”).

Mootness differs from the doctrine of standing. At the onset of a lawsuit, a litigant must have standing prior to bringing the claim. 46Note, supra note 43, at 376. While courts, usually implicitly, determine standing at the outset of a trial, mootness requires that “an actual controversy must be extant at all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is filed.” 47Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974) (citing Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 125 (1973)).

Using Rule 68, defendants have argued that they can moot plaintiffs’ claims because their offers constitute complete relief. 48See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1278–81. Since no more relief can be offered, the controversy ceases to exist and therefore becomes moot. However, this Comment will reveal that, among other problems, “complete relief” depends on one’s perspective.

II. Major Court Decisions by the Supreme and Circuit Courts

This Part details several relevant Supreme and circuit court decisions about mootness arising out of Rule 68 offers. The Supreme Court has briefly explored this area of law 49See Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980); U.S. Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 404 (1980). but should resolve this issue in the October Term 2015. 50See supra note 6 and accompanying text. However, to date, the Court explicitly declined to answer this Comment’s inquiry of whether a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim. 51See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528–29 (2013). Rather, the circuit courts have debated the merits of this argument. Initially, circuit courts favored the notion that once a defendant made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief, the claim became moot. 52See infra Part II.B–C. These circuit courts primarily concerned themselves with what constituted complete relief and whether judgment should be entered for the plaintiff or defendant. 53See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 952–53 (9th Cir. 2013). This subsidiary problem of which party should receive the judgment led to three circuit court approaches. Two such approaches determined that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief could moot a claim; 54See infra Part II.B–C. however, these circuit courts disagree over which party should receive a judgment in its favor. 55See infra Part II.B–C. The third approach—Diaz—resolved this conflict by holding that a Rule 68 offer never moots a claim. 56See infra Part II.E. This split will likely be resolved soon when the Supreme Court decides Campbell-Ewald, a case in which the Ninth Circuit applied the Diaz approach and held that the defendant’s Rule 68 offer did not moot the plaintiff’s claim. 57See supra notes 5– 6 and accompanying text.

In this Part, section A describes two Supreme Court decisions that were relied on by the circuit courts in developing their discrete approaches. Then, sections B and C demonstrate that circuit courts initially favored defendants, but as time progressed, circuit courts made it increasingly more difficult for defendants to satisfy the notion of complete relief. Lastly, sections D and E highlight the shift in judicial thought in 2013, where courts applied the reasoning of Diaz. These sections show that courts are increasingly unlikely to render an individual’s claim moot under Rule 68, even though the defendant offers the maximum monetary relief to the plaintiff. This chronology reveals an ongoing trend towards courts limiting their involvement in Rule 68 offers—and, therefore, the Supreme Court will encounter a growing number of courts applying the Diaz approach when it hears oral arguments in October.

A. Setting the Stage: Roper and Geraghty

On March 19, 1980, the Supreme Court decided two cases, Deposit Guaranty National Bank v. Roper 58445 U.S. 326 (1980). and U.S. Parole Commission v. Geraghty. 59445 U.S. 388 (1980). Both cases involved possibly mooted claims. 60Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340. Neither case involved a defendant making a Rule 68 offer. However, these decisions demonstrate the conflict in interpreting the mootness doctrine. Mootness is the central issue in Rule 68 offers for complete relief. See Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–04 (11th Cir. 2014). These early opinions involved questions of class certification for plaintiffs. 61Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 330. In these cases, the defendants argued that the representatives’ claims in the class were mooted. 62See Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 330. This argument became the initial basis for determining whether a plaintiff’s individual claim was moot. 63See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1529–32 (2013). In both Roper and Geraghty, however, the Supreme Court rejected the defendants’ mootness arguments. 64Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340.

In Roper, the plaintiffs brought a class action against the defendant, a bank, for various credit card grievances. 65Roper, 445 U.S. at 327–28. The district court initially denied the plaintiffs’ motion to certify the class. 66Id. at 329. After the district court’s denial of class certification, the defendant offered the maximum monetary amount to the plaintiffs. 67Id. Specifically, the defendant’s offer included entering judgment by consent without waiving its defenses or admitting liability. 68Id. The Court never addressed whether this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claim even though it was offered with the conditions that the defendant was neither waiving his defenses nor admitting his liability. See id. However, a similar conditional settlement was given in the Second Circuit’s McCauley case, which did impact the court’s holding. See McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 341–42 (2d Cir. 2005). In McCauley, the court held that the defendant did not offer complete relief because the settlement offer included conditions that the offer “not be construed as an admission of liability and that it remain confidential and filed under seal.” Id. However, the plaintiffs declined this offer. 69Roper, 445 U.S. at 329. Nonetheless, the district court entered judgment in their favor for the amount offered and dismissed the case. 70Id. at 330.

On appeal, the plaintiffs sought review for the denial of class certification. 71Id. Because the plaintiffs received their maximum monetary relief as individuals, the defendant argued that the plaintiffs’ claims were moot. 72Id. As shown, defendants’ efforts to pick off individual claimants in a class action are not limited to Rule 68 offers. See supra note 16. Therefore, the defendant reasoned that the plaintiffs should no longer have an interest in the class certification. 73See Roper, 445 U.S. at 330. The plaintiffs responded, alleging a continued interest as individuals in the class certification because of their desire to shift their litigation costs. 74Id. at 336. The plaintiffs’ response was well received by the Supreme Court, 75See id. at 340. which held that the plaintiffs’ individual interest in shifting litigation costs prevented mootness of their claims. 76Id.

The second case, Geraghty, also concerned a defendant arguing that the plaintiff’s claim was moot. 77U.S. Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 394 (1980). In Geraghty, the plaintiff, a prisoner, brought a class action suit against the U.S. Parole Commission, challenging the validity of the defendant’s Parole Release Guidelines. 78Id. at 390. After the district court denied plaintiff’s motion to certify the class, the plaintiff appealed this denial. 79Id. at 393–94. Prior to filing his appeal, however, the prison released the plaintiff. 80Id. at 394. Because the plaintiff no longer had an individual interest in the case, the defendant moved to dismiss the appeal as moot. 81Id.

In deciding this case, the Court relied upon Roper—which held that “an individual controversy is rendered moot, in the strict Art[icle] III sense, by payment and satisfaction of a final judgment”—and asserted that the mootness doctrine is, in fact, flexible. 82Id. at 400 (emphasis added). The Court ultimately held that a class action claim does not become moot upon the expiration of an individual plaintiff’s substantive claim, even though class certification was denied. 83Id. at 404. The holding in Roper helped clarify one of the issues of mootness. Although the Parole Release Guidelines no longer directly affected this particular plaintiff, his claim was not moot because flexibility is needed in situations with expiration dates, such as prison terms. 84Id.

In both Roper and Geraghty, the Court rejected the mootness arguments by the defendants. 85Id.; Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank. v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980). However, the Seventh Circuit, the first court to address the issue of mootness in Rule 68 offers, accepted the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). In addition, neither decision determined whether an offer for complete relief would have mooted the claims. 86See Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340. In Roper, the Court held that the plaintiffs’ interest in shifting litigation costs sufficed to combat the defendant’s argument that the plaintiffs’ claim was moot. 87Roper, 445 U.S. at 336–40. This holding demonstrated a minimal interest that a plaintiff needed to defeat a mootness argument. The Court did not address, however, the precise threshold required to defeat a mootness argument. 88See All. to End Repression v. City of Chicago, 820 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 1987) (“Our conclusion that this case is not justiciable answers a question raised in [Roper]: whether a plaintiff who is offered all the relief he demands may refuse the offer and go to trial. The answer is no.”).

Although the Supreme Court rejected both mootness arguments when the plaintiffs had minimal interests in their respective cases, sections B and C will show that several circuit courts addressed mootness and held that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief moots the plaintiffs’ claims. 89See Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 368 (4th Cir. 2012); O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567 (6th Cir. 2009); McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340 (2d Cir. 2005); Rand, 926 F.2d 596.

B. The Rand Approach: A Rule 68 Offer Can Moot a Claim, and Judgment is Entered for the Defendant

In 1991, the Seventh Circuit in Rand v. Monsanto Co. held that when the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, (a) the claim is moot, and (b) the court should enter judgment for the defendant when the plaintiff refuses to accept the offer (the Rand approach). 90926 F.2d at 598 (“Once the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate . . . and a plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright.” (citing All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d 873)). By the time the Seventh Circuit ruled in Rand, the Seventh Circuit had already interpreted Roper. See All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d at 878. The Seventh Circuit overruled Rand and adopted the Diaz approach on August 6, 2015. See infra note 98 and accompanying text. The Seventh Circuit determined that Roper introduced the principle that a plaintiff cannot have his day in court when offered all the relief he demands. 91All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d at 878 (holding that a plaintiff who is offered all the relief he demands may not refuse the offer and go to trial).

In Rand, the plaintiff, a shareholder, brought a class action suit against the defendant, a corporation, for committing fraud by not disclosing potential liabilities. 92Rand, 926 F.2d at 597–98. When the plaintiff moved to certify the class, the district court denied the motion. 93Id. at 597. After the motion was denied, the defendant offered the plaintiff the full amount of monetary relief that he could receive from a court judgment. 94Id. The defendant attempted to pick off the plaintiff to end the possibility of a class action early. See id. at 597–98. However, when the plaintiff refused the defendant’s offer, the district court entered judgment for the defendant. 95 Id. at 597–98. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit agreed with the district court’s ruling. 96Id. at 598. The Seventh Circuit held that if a defendant offers to satisfy a plaintiff’s entire demand, and the plaintiff refuses, judgment must be entered for the defendant. 97Id. at 597–98. In 2011, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed this holding. Damasco v. Clearwire Corp., 662 F.3d 891, 895 (7th Cir. 2011) (“[O]nce the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate, and the plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright . . . because he has no remaining stake.” (quoting Rand, 926 F.2d at 598)).

Although the Seventh Circuit established the Rand approach, the court recently overruled Rand and instead embraced the reasoning of Justice Kagan’s dissent—the same dissent that the Ninth Circuit endorsed in Diaz. 98Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“We overrule Damasaco, Thorogood, Rand, and similar decisions to the extent they hold that a defendant’s offer of full compensation moots the litigation or otherwise ends the Article III case or controversy.”). In Chapman, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against the defendant for sending solicited or unsolicited facsimiles without instructions on how to opt out of receiving them. Id. at *1. When the plaintiff’s motion to represent a class of non-consenting recipients was pending, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer to moot the plaintiff’s individual claims. See id. at *2. The Seventh Circuit thought “it best to clean up the law of this circuit promptly,” which led to its acceptance of the Diaz approach. Id. at *3. However, the basic premise of the Rand approach is still applied by the following five circuit courts 99See Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The Third, Fourth, Fifth, . . . Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant.”). Instead of entering judgment for the defendants, courts might dismiss the mooted claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Although this distinction exists, this outcome still favors defendants to the greatest extent, which is the focus of the Rand approach. : the Third Circuit, 100Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004). In Weiss, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against the defendants for mailing a letter that demanded an alleged debt owed. Id. at 339. Before the plaintiff moved to certify a class, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claim. Id. at 339–40. The district court found that this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claim and dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 340. On appeal, the Third Circuit held that the claim was not moot because it was in the context of a defendant attempting to pick off the representative plaintiff in a class action. Id. at 345, 349–50. However, the court also cited to Rand for the proposition that “[a]n offer of complete relief will generally moot the plaintiff’s claim, as at that point the plaintiff retains no personal interest in the outcome of the litigation.” Id. at 340. the Fourth Circuit, 101Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 371–72 (4th Cir. 2012). the Tenth Circuit, 102Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011). In Lucero, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and New Mexico Collection Agency Regulatory Act. Id. at 1241 . Alongside its answer to plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer of judgment, including damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Id. Several months later, the plaintiff moved for class certification, and the defendant moved to dismiss the claim. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the claim as moot. Id. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the defendant’s offer was an attempt to pick off (or “buy off”) the representative plaintiff early in a class action. Id. The Tenth Circuit reversed this decision because the district court did not consider the “undoubtedly timely motion for certification.” Id. The court focused on the pick-off strategy of the Rule 68 offer in a class action. Id. at 1248–49. In its discussion of Rule 68, the court noted that “[a]s Rule 68 operates, if an offer is made for a plaintiff’s maximum recovery, his action may be rendered moot.” Id. at 1243 (citing 13B Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3533.2, at 800 (3d ed. 2008)). Before turning to a discussion about the effect of Rule 68 offers on class certification, the court noted that “[w]hile we have yet to address the question squarely, other circuits have concluded that if a defendant makes an offer of judgment in complete satisfaction of a plaintiff’s claims in a non-class action, the plaintiff’s claims are rendered moot because he lacks a remaining interest in the outcome of the case.” Id.; see Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953 & n.5 (9th Cir. 2013) (discussing the Tenth Circuit and the Lucero case). the Federal Circuit, 103Samsung Elecs. Co. Ltd. v. Rambus, Inc., 523 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2008). In previous litigation, the plaintiff Rambus filed a complaint in the Northern District of California against the defendant Samsung for alleged infringement of four of its patents. Id. at 1376. The next day, Samsung filed for a declaratory judgment in the Eastern District of Virginia seeking a ruling that the same patents were “invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed.” Id. In prior litigation concerning the same patents, Rambus had filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia against another defendant, Infineon. Id. In the Infineon litigation, the court ruled from the bench that Rambus had unclean hands due to the spoliation of evidence. Id. at 1377. Rambus quickly settled that litigation, and the adverse ruling became an unpublished finding. Id. However, Samsung wanted to invoke collateral estoppel based on the Infineon spoliation finding in Samsung’s own motion for attorneys’ fees. Id. Instead, Rambus made a Rule 68 offer to compensate Samsung for the full amount of its requested attorney fees. Id. Samsung rejected this offer and argued for its attorney fees motion. Id. Citing to Rand, the Federal Circuit found that “[a]n offer for full relief moots a claim for attorney fees.” Id. at 1379. According to the Federal Circuit, “the offer of the full amount in dispute brought an end to the case and controversy between Rambus and Samsung. At that point the district court also lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to rule on the attorney fees motion. The case became moot.” Id. at 1381. Therefore, Samsung’s motion was mooted by Rambus’s Rule 68 offer. Id. and (arguably) the Fifth Circuit. 104Sandoz v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 553 F.3d 913 (5th Cir. 2008). In Sandoz, the plaintiff brought an opt-in class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act against the defendant for violating the law’s minimum wage provisions. Id. at 914. The defendant made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claim. Id. Like the plaintiff in Weiss, the court noted that the plaintiff’s individual claim was not moot because the defendant attempted to pick off the representative plaintiff in a potential class action. Id. at 920. The Fifth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine whether the plaintiff made a timely motion to certify a class action. Id. at 921–22. This ruling would determine whether the court should moot the claim: “If the [district] court ultimately grants the certification motion, then [defendant’s] Rule 68 offer of judgment only to [plaintiff] did not moot the case. Conversely, if the court denies the certification motion, then [plaintiff] still represents only herself, and [defendant’s] Rule 68 offer of judgment rendered the case moot.” Id. at 921. However, the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Hooks v. Landmark Industry, Inc. may have changed its position. See Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3–4 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“Our circuit has not finally resolved whether a complete Rule 68 offer of judgment moots an individual's claim . . . We conclude that the reasoning of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits is more persuasive and therefore hold that an unaccepted offer of judgment to a named plaintiff in a class action ‘is a legal nullity, with no operative effect.’” (quoting Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533 (Kagan, J., dissenting))). Because the Fifth Circuit included the language “in a class action,” the court may not be ready to concede that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief should never moot an individual’s claim when a class action is not involved. However, this opinion also gives the Fifth Circuit an easy transition from the Rand approach to adopt the Diaz approach. The First Circuit’s recent opinion has already aligned the Fifth Circuit with the Diaz approach. Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015) (“[W]e agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.” (emphasis added)); but see Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The federal courts of appeals are split on this question. The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant.” (emphasis added)).

For example, in 2012, the Fourth Circuit in Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A. applied the Rand approach. 105676 F.3d at 371–72 (“When a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain,’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))). However, the court in Warren required language that was more absolute in order to moot a claim. 106Id. at 370–71. The court held that when the defendant makes a Rule 68 offer that unconditionally and unequivocally satisfies all of the relief that the plaintiff sought to obtain from the claim, the claim is moot, and the court should enter judgment for the plaintiff. 107Id. In Warren, the plaintiff brought a suit against the defendant, a debt collection agency, for statutory violations. 108Id. at 368–69. The plaintiff sought the maximum statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorney fees, and unspecified actual damages. 109Id. at 369, 371; see 15 U.S.C.A. § 1692k(a)(2)(A) (2009) (allowing statutory damages up to $1000). The defendant made a Rule 68 offer for the maximum statutory damages, costs, reasonable attorney fees, and actual damages of $250 or actual damages as determined by the court. 110Warren, 676 F.3d at 369. The defendant also offered to pay damages in “an amount determined by the Court upon Plaintiff’s submission of affidavits or other evidence of actual damage.” Id. The plaintiff refused the offer, and the defendant moved to dismiss the claim as moot. 111Id. The district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss. 112Id. at 370.

On appeal, the Fourth Circuit determined that a Rule 68 offer only moots a plaintiff’s claim when the offer unequivocally and unconditionally offers the plaintiff all she sought to obtain through her claim. 113Id. at 370–71. An unequivocal and unconditional offer specifies a definite sum or other relief and must have no conditions attached. 114Id. (“[T]o effectuate the purposes of Rule 68, an offer of judgment ‘must specify a definite sum or other relief for which judgment may be entered and must be unconditional.’” (quoting Simmons v. United Mortg. & Loan Inv., 634 F.3d 754, 764 (4th Cir. 2011))). Because the actual damages were not yet known or were conditional to the court’s finding, the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal for mootness. 115Id. at 372, 375.

The Fourth Circuit’s Warren decision provided more concrete language than the earlier Rand decision. 116Compare Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991) (“Once the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate, and a plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright.” (citation omitted)), with Warren, 676 F.3d at 371 (“When a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain,’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))). By requiring an unequivocal and unconditional Rule 68 offer, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling made it very difficult to moot a claim using Rule 68. However, like the Third, Fifth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits, the Fourth Circuit would not provide relief for the plaintiff once the claim is mooted. 117Warren, 676 F.3d at 371; supra notes 99– 103 and accompanying text.

C. The McCauley–O’Brien Approach: A Rule 68 Offer Can Moot a Claim, but Judgment is Entered for the Plaintiff

Although the Rand approach mandates entry of judgment for defendants in mooted claims, the McCauleyO’Brien approach provides a more favorable ruling for such plaintiffs. 118See infra Part II.C. Courts applying McCauley–O’Brien find that when a defendant offers complete relief under Rule 68, (a) the claims are moot, but (b) the court should enter judgment for the plaintiff. 119McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 342 (2d Cir. 2005). Unlike in Rand, which held that a plaintiff that refuses to accept the offer must lose it, the McCauley–O’Brien approach provides a more sympathetic holding for these litigants—giving the settlement offer to the plaintiffs. 120Id.

While the Second Circuit in McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C. established the approach giving mooted Rule 68 settlement offers to the plaintiffs, 121See id. the Sixth Circuit in O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enterprises reinforced this reasoning with firmer language. 122575 F.3d 567, 574–75 (6th Cir. 2009) (“We agree with the Seventh Circuit’s [Rand approach] that an offer of judgment that satisfies a plaintiff’s entire demand moots the case . . . . We disagree, however, with the Seventh Circuit’s view that a plaintiff loses outright . . . . Instead, we believe the better approach is to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with the defendants’ Rule 68 offer of judgment.”).

In McCauley, the plaintiff brought suit against the defendant, a consumer reporting agency, for negligently misreporting the plaintiff’s credit score. 123Id. at 340. Subsequently, the defendant made a Rule 68 settlement offer to the plaintiff for the maximum monetary damages and reasonable costs. 124Id. at 341. The Rule 68 settlement offer specified that this offer was not an admission of liability and must remain confidential. 125Id. This offer is similar to the defendant’s offer in Roper, in which the defendant made an “Offer of Defendants to Enter Judgment as by Consent and Without Waiver of Defenses or Admission of Liability.” Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 329 (1980). The Supreme Court did not address whether the form of the offer mattered. See id. Further, the offer itself was not questioned as complete relief. See id. Instead, the decision turned on the plaintiff’s desire to shift litigation costs. Id. at 336, 340. The plaintiff rejected the offer. 126McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341. However, the district court found the case moot, granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant. 127Id. But, on appeal, the Second Circuit held that the defendant’s Rule 68 offer did not moot the claim. 128Id. at 342.

According to the circuit court, when the defendant made the monetary offer “with the requirement that the settlement be confidential, [the defendant] made a conditional offer that [the plaintiff] was not obligated to take.” 129Id. The plaintiff wanted not only the monetary relief, but also the precedential value of a judgment. 130Id. at 341; see also Cabala v. Crowley, 736 F.3d 226, 231 (2d Cir. 2013) (holding that an offer that does not include an offer of judgment does not moot the claim). Because a default judgment is public record, the case would become precedent. 131McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342. Therefore, the Second Circuit vacated the district court’s judgment and remanded the case back to the district court to enter a default judgment for the plaintiff for the same amount offered in the settlement. 132Id.

In contrast to the Rand approach and its own district court’s ruling, 133The McCauley case was appealed from the Southern District of New York. See McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22713, at *1–2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2003). the Second Circuit’s McCauley decision determined that full monetary relief alone does not automatically constitute complete relief. 134McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342. Further, once complete relief was given, the court entered judgment for the plaintiff. 135Id.

Because the Second Circuit used equivocal language in its application of the McCauley–O’Brien approach, the court recently “clarif[ied] and reiterate[d]” its interpretation of the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. 136See Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199–200 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The district courts within our Circuit have not deduced a single rule from our prior jurisprudence on the issue.”). In Tanasi, the plaintiff brought a putative class action against defendants for alleged improper assessment of overdraft fees. Id. at 197. The defendants made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claims. Id. The district court found that the plaintiff’s individual claims were mooted by the Rule 68 offer, but that its putative class action claims were not. Id. at 196. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the holding, but on different grounds—the court held “an unaccepted Rule 68 offer alone does not render a plaintiff’s individual claims moot before the entry of judgment against the defendants.” Id. at 197. However, this clarification has led to its adoption of Justice Kagan’s dissent in Genesis and adherence to the Diaz approach. 137Id. at 200 (“In light of this confusion, we find it necessary to the resolution of this case to clarify and reiterate that it remains the established law of this Circuit that a ‘rejected settlement [under Rule 68], by itself, [cannot] moot[] [a] case.’” (quoting McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342)). Although the Second Circuit considers Tanasi to simply clarify its previous McCauley holding, the case actually changes McCauley to follow the recent opinions that cite to Justice Kagan’s dissenting opinion in Genesis. With this recent development, the Sixth Circuit 138See infra notes 142–48 and accompanying text. —and arguably the Eighth Circuit 139Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935 (8th Cir. 2012). In Hartis, the plaintiffs brought a putative class action against the defendant, a title insurance company, for allegedly retaining excessive fees. Id. at 939. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ class certification, and subsequently, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer of complete relief in order to moot the plaintiffs’ claims. Id. at 942. The district court found that the offer mooted the claims and determined that judgment should be entered for the plaintiff in accordance with the defendant’s offer. Id. at 949. However, due to a clerical error, the judgment entered dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction instead of entering judgment for the plaintiffs. Id. The Eighth Circuit cited to the Sixth Circuit’s O’Brien decision for the proposition that the court should give the amount of the mooted Rule 68 offer to the plaintiff—the McCauley–O’Brien approach. Id. Nonetheless, the Eighth Circuit never actually entered a judgment because the parties did not make the proper motion. Id. at 950. Instead, the court instructed the plaintiffs to make the proper motion to correct the district court’s clerical error when the case was sent back to the district court. Id. This tacit endorsement of the McCauley–O’Brien approach has led to varying results for the district courts within the Eighth Circuit. Compare Hendricks v. Inergy, L.P., No. 4:12CV00069 JLH, 2013 WL 6984634, at *6 (E.D. Ark. July 18, 2013) (“The Eighth Circuit has indicated that when an offer of judgment moots an action, the proper procedure is to enter judgment for the plaintiff in accordance with the Rule 68 offer of judgment.”), and Campbell v. Accounts Receivable Mgmt., Inc., No. 4:14-CV-00793-W-DGK, 2015 WL 4425823, at *3 (W.D. Mo. July 20, 2015) (stating that the Eighth Circuit has approved the McCauley–O’Brien approach, so a mooted Rule 68 offer should result in a district court entering “judgment in the amount offer by the defendant and then dismiss[ing] the case”), with Claxton v. Kum & Go, L.C., No. 6:14-cv-03385-MDH, 2014 WL 4854692, at *3 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 30, 2014) (“The Eighth Circuit has endorsed this principle in the context of class actions, holding that ‘[j]udgment should be entered against a putative class representative on a defendant's offer of payment . . . where class certification has been properly denied and the offer satisfies the representative's entire demand for injuries and costs of the suit.’” But the district courts within the Eighth Circuit even disagree on “whether a tender and rejection of an offer of judgment prior to a request for class certification will moot a class action suit.” (alterations and ellipsis in original) (quoting Alpern v. UtiliCorp. United, Inc., 84 F.3d 1525, 1539 (8th Cir. 1996))). —have adopted the McCauley–O’Brien approach.

The Sixth Circuit fortified the McCauley–O’Brien approach in O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enterprises with its steadfast language. 140See supra notes 121–22 and accompanying text. Because of the court’s explicit validation, the Eighth Circuit cited to O’Brien for its reasoning in Hartis v. Chicago Title Insurance Co. 141694 F.3d at 949.

In O’Brien, the court held that a plaintiff’s claims are moot when a defendant makes a Rule 68 offer that satisfies a plaintiff’s entire demand, and the court should then enter judgment for the plaintiff. 142O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., 575 F.3d 567, 574–75 (6th Cir. 2009) (“We agree with the Seventh Circuit’s view that an offer of judgment that satisfies a plaintiff’s entire demand moots the case . . . . We disagree, however, with the Seventh Circuit’s view that a plaintiff loses outright . . . . Instead, we believe the better approach is to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with the defendants’ Rule 68 offer of judgment.”). The O’Brien plaintiffs brought three claims against the defendant, a storeowner, for statutory violations. 143Id. at 572. The defendant made a Rule 68 offer for two of the claims, offering the full amount for the claimed damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees as determined by the district court. 144Id. at 573. The plaintiffs rejected the offer. 145Id. However, the district court found the claims to be mooted and entered judgment for the plaintiffs. 146Id. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that their claims were not moot because the court had failed to determine reasonable attorneys’ fees. 147Id. at 575. Because full relief had been offered and only reasonable attorneys’ fees by the court had to be determined, the Sixth Circuit found the claims moot. 148Id. at 575–76. Interestingly, the Sixth Circuit did not discuss the Supreme Court’s holding in Roper that a personal interest in shifting litigation costs prevented mootness of the claim. Id.; see Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980).

As these cases show, the McCauleyO’Brien approach allows defendants to use Rule 68 to moot individuals’ claims, but the court will enter judgment for the plaintiff.

D. A Turning Tide in Rule 68 Offers and Mootness: Genesis

Prior to Genesis, circuit courts applied two approaches—Rand and McCauleyO’Brien. 149See supra Part II.B–E. Both approaches accepted the argument that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief mooted an individual’s claim but disagreed over which party should receive the judgment. 150See supra Part II.B–E.

Justice Kagan’s dissent in the Supreme Court’s Genesis opinion changed the mootness discussion. 151See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1534 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (stating that the Third Circuit should “rethink [its] mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory” and suggesting other circuits courts “[d]on’t try this at home”). In Genesis, the majority assumed, without deciding, that the Third Circuit correctly mooted the individual’s claim. 152Id. at 1528–29 (majority opinion). In her dissent, Justice Kagan dismissed the foundation of both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches. 153See id. at 1534 (Kagan, J., dissenting). She disagreed with the majority opinion’s assumption 154The Court also stated that the plaintiff’s waiver of the issue and failure to raise the argument in the petition for certiorari require the Court to accept that the plaintiff’s individual claim was moot. Id. at 1529 (majority opinion). The Court specified that it was not answering the question addressed by this Comment: “While the Courts of Appeals disagree whether an unaccepted offer that fully satisfies a plaintiff’s claim is sufficient to render the claim moot, we do not reach this question, or resolve the split, because the issue is not properly before us.” Id. at 1528–29. —that the Third Circuit correctly mooted the individual’s claim. 155Id. at 1533, 1535 (Kagan, J., dissenting) (“[T]he individual claims in such cases will never become moot, and a court will therefore never need to reach the issue the majority resolves. The majority’s decision is fit for nothing: Aside from getting this case wrong, it serves only to address a make-believe problem.”). In fact, Justice Kagan refuted the possibility that a Rule 68 offer could ever moot an individual’s claim. 156Id. Joined by three other justices, her dissent became the catalyst for the Diaz approach. 157See infra Part II.E. Instead of citing to case law for this proposition, 158See Recent Case, Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—Ninth Circuit Holds that Unaccepted Rule 68 Offer Does Not Moot Plaintiff’s Individual Claims, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 1260, 1267 (2014) (“Justice Kagan’s opinion relied, at its core, on pure logic . . . [her] reasoning may have been novel.”); 1 William B. Rubenstein, Newberg on Class Actions § 2:15 (5th ed. Supp. 2014) (“[T]he effect of Justice Kagan’s dissent has been to breathe life into the threshold question of mootness, creating a flurry of opinions on a question once deemed settled.”). Justice Kagan primarily relied on contract theory to bolster her dissent:

[A]n unaccepted offer of judgment cannot moot a case. When a plaintiff rejects such an offer—however good the terms—her interest in the lawsuit remains just what it was before. And so too does the court’s ability to grant her relief. An unaccepted settlement offer—like any unaccepted contract offer—is a legal nullity, with no operative effect. As every first-year law student learns, the recipient’s rejection of an offer “leaves the matter as if no offer had ever been made.” 159Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533 (Kagan, J., dissenting).

Not only did Justice Kagan dissent from the majority’s holding, she dissented with its underlying assumption—she found that an accepted offer never moots an individual’s claim. 160Id. at 1534, 1537. Although the majority holding in Genesis is somewhat irrelevant for this Comment, the Court held that when a plaintiff’s individual claim is moot, the fact that the plaintiff is pursuing a class action has no bearing, and the plaintiff’s claim must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 1532 (majority opinion).

E. The Diaz Approach: A Rule 68 Offer Never Moots a Claim

Justice Kagan’s “friendly suggestion” to the Third Circuit and other circuit courts to reconsider their mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory 161Id. at 1534 (Kagan, J., dissenting). Justice Kagan’s dissent provided “a friendly suggestion to the Third Circuit: Rethink your mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. And a note to all other courts of appeals: Don’t try this at home.” Id. was taken to heart. Later that same year, the Ninth Circuit in Diaz took Justice Kagan’s advice. 162Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 950 (9th Cir. 2013) (“We hold that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy a plaintiff’s claim is insufficient to render the claim moot.”). Although the circuit courts prior to Genesis had ruled that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer could moot a claim, the Ninth Circuit rejected that conclusion. 163These other circuit courts accepted that an individual’s claim can be mooted, but they argued over their understanding of complete relief and which party should receive the judgment. Compare Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 370–71 (4th Cir. 2012) (allowing Rule 68 offers to moot an individual’s claim and entering judgment for the defendant), and Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991) (same), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015), with O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567, 575–76 (6th Cir. 2009) (allowing Rule 68 offers to moot an individual’s claim but entering judgment for the plaintiff), and Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 949 (8th Cir. 2012).

In 2013, the Ninth Circuit in Diaz held that when the defendant makes a Rule 68 offer to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, (a) the claim is never moot, so (b) the Ninth Circuit did not need to determine which party a judgment would favor. 164Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950, 952 (“We hold that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy a plaintiff’s claim is insufficient to render the claim moot.”). In Diaz, the plaintiff brought a class action suit against the defendant, a warranty plan corporation. 165Id. at 950. The district court denied the plaintiff’s motion to certify the class. 166Id. Subsequently, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer to the plaintiff for all of her remaining individual claims. 167Id. The plaintiff rejected the offer because it did not satisfy her prayer for injunctive and declaratory relief. 168Id. at 951. The district court found both injunctive and declaratory relief to be inappropriate forms of relief for the plaintiff. Id. The defendant then moved to dismiss the claim as moot. 169Id. at 950. The district court granted the defendant’s motion and declined to enter judgment or award costs to either party. 170Id. at 951.

On appeal, the Ninth Circuit refuted the preexisting mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. 171Id. at 955. The Ninth Circuit’s distinction from the other circuit courts was premised almost entirely on Justice Kagan’s persuasive Genesis dissent. 172See id. at 953–55 (quoting several paragraphs of Justice Kagan’s dissent, then specifying that the Ninth Circuit is “persuaded that Justice Kagan has articulated the correct approach”). Besides Justice Kagan’s dissent, the Ninth Circuit discussed several other circuit court holdings, all of which found that a case could be rendered moot through a Rule 68 offer. Id. at 952–53. The court held that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer never 173Id. at 955. However, the Ninth Circuit does allow courts “to halt a lawsuit by entering judgment for the plaintiff when the defendant unconditionally surrenders and only the plaintiff’s obstinacy or madness prevents her from accepting total victory.” Id. (citing Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting)). moots the claim, even if it would have fully satisfied it. 174Id. at 954–55. This holding does not answer the larger question of whether an accepted offer of judgment moots a claim. Id. at 953 n.4.

The use of the Diaz approach has received additional support from four more circuit courts, beginning with the Eleventh Circuit in Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. Partnership. 175772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014). In December 2014, the Eleventh Circuit stated that finding a case moot using Rule 68 “is flatly inconsistent with the rule.” 176Id. at 702. Just like the Ninth Circuit in Diaz, the Eleventh Circuit in Stein agreed with Justice Kagan’s Genesis dissent. 177Id. at 703 (stating that similar to the Ninth Circuit that “has explicitly adopted the position set out in the [Genesis] dissent . . . we agree with the [Genesis] dissent”). By rejecting the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory, the Ninth and Eleventh Circuit judges aligned with the Genesis dissent and tacitly acknowledged that the Diaz approach is superior to the Rand and McCauley–O’Brien approaches. Furthermore, the First, 178Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015). In Bais Yaakov, the plaintiff, a private religious high school, filed putative class action claims against the defendant under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for sending it unsolicited facsimiles. Id. at *1. Prior to class certification, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer to the plaintiff, and argued that this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claims. Id. The district court rejected this motion to moot the claims. Id. On interlocutory review, the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Id. The First Circuit agreed with the post-Genesis decisions that “a Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim” and noted that nothing in Rule 68 allows rejected offers to moot a plaintiff’s claims. Id. at *5. The court rendered this decision on interlocutory review and it involved a class action, but its dicta strongly favors its application of the Diaz approach in individual claims. Id. at *1, *8. Additionally, the First Circuit also agreed with its district court’s ruling, which has “looked to the reasoning expressed by other courts on this issue, and [was] persuaded by that expressed the Ninth Circuit in Diaz and by Justice Kagan's dissent in Genesis Healthcare.” Yaakov v. ACT, Inc., 987 F. Supp. 2d 124, 128 (D. Mass. 2013) (order amending decision signed on Jan. 22, 2014). Second, 179See supra notes 137–38. and Seventh 180See supra note 99 and accompanying text. Circuit Courts have approved the application of the Diaz approach in opinions published in the summer of 2015. 181Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“We overrule Damasaco, Thorogood, Rand, and similar decisions to the extent they hold a defendant’s offer of full compensation moots the litigation or otherwise ends the Article III case or controversy.”); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015) (“[U]nder the law of our Circuit, an unaccepted Rule 68 offer alone does not render a plaintiff’s individual claims moot before the entry of judgment against the defendants.”). However, even with these three new opinions, only five of the twelve circuits (counting the Federal Circuit) currently follow this approach. 182To summarize the circuit court approaches, five circuit courts follow the Rand approach: Third, Fourth, Fifth, Tenth, and Federal Circuit; two circuit courts follow the McCauley–O’Brien approach: Sixth and Eighth; and five circuit courts follow the Diaz approach: First, Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh. Additionally, it is worth keeping a watchful eye on the Fifth Circuit because its recent opinion, Hooks v. Landmark Industries, Inc., suggests that the court will adopt the Diaz approach. No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3–4 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“We conclude that the reasoning of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits is more persuasive and therefore hold that an unaccepted offer of judgment to a named plaintiff in a class action ‘is a legal nullity, with no operative effect.’” (quoting Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (emphasis added))). The First Circuit’s recent opinion likely aligns the Fifth Circuit with the Diaz approach. Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“[W]e agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.”). Even with these decisions, the court specified that, at this point in time, “[s]ix other circuits have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all relief requested can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim.” Id. (citing to several cases including the Third Circuit in Weiss, the Fourth Circuit in Warren, the Sixth Circuit in O’Brien, the Eighth Circuit in Hartis, the Tenth Circuit in Lucero, and the Federal Circuit in Samsung, all of which are discussed in Part II.B–C of this Comment).

As previously discussed, the Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. 183135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.); see supra note 6 and accompanying text. In Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., the Ninth Circuit followed its precedent, the Diaz approach. 184Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871, 875 (9th Cir. 2014). In Gomez, the plaintiff sued a marketing company that sent unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy. Id. at 873. Although the Ninth Circuit applied the Diaz approach, the court vacated and remanded the decision on other grounds. Id. at 882. Instead of going back to the district court, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari for the October Term 2015. See supra note 6 and accompanying text. This Comment advocates for the Supreme Court to recognize these benefits and use Campbell-Ewald to create a uniform rule—the Diaz approach.

III. Benefits of the Diaz Approach

The Diaz approach provides the most appealing result. Although Diaz still creates certain issues to be addressed in Part IV, it provides four principal benefits for Rule 68 offers. First, section A of this Part describes how the Diaz approach conforms to Rule 68’s text and purpose. Section B then explains that the Diaz approach upholds fundamental contract theory concepts. Afterwards, section C demonstrates how the Diaz approach creates a bright-line jurisdictional rule that definitively resolves the circuit split. Finally, section D shows that the Diaz approach, unlike the alternative options, provides the strongest deterrent against negative behavior.

A. The Diaz Approach Accomplishes the Goals of Textualists and Purposivists

Rule 68 was not designed to provide evidence for judges, but rather to encourage opposing parties to settle cases outside the courtroom. 185See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267. According to the Eleventh Circuit, “That is the whole point of Rule 68: a party who rejects an offer, litigates and does not get a better result must pay the other side’s costs . . . [the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory] is flatly inconsistent with the rule.” 186Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702 (11th Cir. 2014); see also Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“[A]n unaccepted Rule 68 offer is a red herring: it does not, in itself, provide any relief. And nothing in Rule 68—or any other rule—contemplates use of a rejected offer to secure dismissal of a case. To the contrary, Rule 68 expressly specifies what happens to a rejected offer: it is deemed to be ‘withdrawn,’ and it is ‘not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.’” (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b))).

Both the text and advisory committee’s notes verify this position. 187See infra notes 188–89 and accompanying text. First, the plain language of Rule 68 states that “[e]vidence of an unaccepted Rule 68 offer is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.” 188Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b). Second, the advisory committee noted this exact purpose. 189See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note to 1946 amendment (noting that Congress altered Rule 68 “to make clear that evidence of an unaccepted offer is admissible in a proceeding to determine the costs of the action but is not otherwise admissible”). Both the plain language and the drafter’s purpose demonstrate that Rule 68 is solely a defendant’s tool to negotiate a settlement. “Judicial negotiation” 190Rather than referencing a term of art, judicial negotiation is meant to emphasize the problem of the Rand and McCauley–O’Brien approaches, which cause judges to actively participate in Rule 68 offers. through mootness was never an intended result. 191The notion of mootness and judicial authority is nowhere to be found in either the language or congressional history of Rule 68. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68; Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note to 2009 amendment; Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 954–55 (9th Cir. 2013) (stating that the Diaz approach “is consistent with the language, structure, and purposes of Rule 68 and with fundamental principles governing mootness”).

While forced judicial intervention may never have been envisioned, several circuit courts have found cases moot using the defendant’s Rule 68 offer. 192See supra Part II.B–C. Although Rule 68’s lack of explicit judicial authority to moot claims does not necessarily translate to no authority, Justice Kagan and three other justices found this to be true—there was no judicial authority to moot claims under Rule 68. 193See supra notes 150–60 and accompanying text. There is even a strong argument that Rule 68 and its advisory committee notes did explicitly reject this mootness argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68; Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note (2009). In Genesis, Justice Kagan recognized that courts were overstepping “Rule 68’s exclusive purpose: to promote voluntary cessation of litigation by imposing costs on plaintiffs who spurn certain settlement offers.” 194Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (emphasis added). Indeed, several circuit courts transformed the voluntary cessation of the parties into judicial authority to dismiss the case. 195See supra Part II.B–C (describing case law of the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches, two standards that accept the premise that a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim).

Both the Ninth Circuit in Diaz and the Eleventh Circuit in Stein have followed Justice Kagan’s lead, quoting several sections of Justice Kagan’s dissent. 196Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953–55 (9th Cir. 2013). Further, leading up to the Supreme Court’s Campbell-Ewald decision on the matter, the Second and Seventh Circuits have changed their approaches to conform to the Diaz approach. 197See supra notes 98, 136–37 and accompanying text. In addition, the First and Fifth Circuits have published opinions that likely align their circuits with the Diaz approach. See Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015); Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015). Rather than imposing judicial authority to find a claim moot, the Diaz approach adheres to Rule 68’s text and purpose—a Rule 68 offer should never moot a plaintiff’s claim. 198Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950.

Just as Rule 68 required a focus on its text and purpose, section B explores how Rule 68 likely presumed acceptance of contract terms.

B. The Diaz Approach Upholds Fundamental Aspects of Contract Theory

Contracts are based on several foundational concepts. 199As simple as this statement may be, the importance can be lost when courts and litigants are immersed in complicated legal matters. As Justice Kagan suggested in Genesis, reviewing a first-year contract’s book is a benefit for all court officers. See Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533–34 (Kagan, J., dissenting). An offer must be made, and such offer must be accepted. 200See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 24 (Am. Law Inst. 1981). Without an acceptance or intention to accept an offer, a contract is never formed. 201See id. § 38(2) (“A manifestation of intention not to accept an offer is a rejection.”). While the idea of acceptance—whether by action, silence, or words—has been debated, all contracts require some form of an acceptance. 202See 1 Richard Lord, Williston on Contracts § 4:3 (4th ed. 1990) (“[C]ases where offer and acceptance are lacking are so rare that for purposes of general discussion they may be disregarded.”). Declining an offer, whether by explicit rejection or the lapse of time, 203See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 36 (Am. Law Inst. 1981) (stating that an offer may be terminated by the offeree’s rejection or lapse of time). terminates the offer. 204See id. § 38(1) (“An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his rejection of the offer.”); see also Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“It is hornbook law that rejection of an offer nullifies the offer.”).

In her dissenting opinion in Genesis, Justice Kagan reiterated this fundamental aspect of contract theory: “An unaccepted settlement offer—like any unaccepted contract offer—is a legal nullity, with no operative effect. As every first-year law student learns, the recipient’s rejection of an offer ‘leaves the matter as if no offer had ever been made.’” 205Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (quoting Minneapolis & St. Louis Ry. Co. v. Columbus Rolling Mill, 119 U.S. 149, 151 (1886)). However, this notion of acceptance for Rule 68 settlement offers had been largely ignored by the lower courts. 206Recent Case, supra note 158, at 1260. Almost routinely, lower courts had determined that a plaintiff’s individual claim was moot when complete relief was offered. 207Id.

These courts either accepted offers for the plaintiffs or entered judgments for the defendants because the plaintiffs refused to accept them. 208See supra Part II.B–C. Justice Kagan gave notice to all courts to reconsider the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory in light of basic contract principles. 209Recent Case, supra note 158, at 1267. Using contract theory concepts promulgated by Justice Kagan in Genesis, the Ninth Circuit in Diaz echoed her sentiment. 210Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 954–55 (9th Cir. 2013). The Eleventh Circuit recently accepted this theory 211Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 709 (11th Cir. 2014). : once an offer was considered “withdrawn” under Rule 68, 212Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b) (“An unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn.”). “the plaintiffs still had their claims, and [the defendant] still had its defenses.” 213Stein, 772 F.3d at 702. By allowing unaccepted Rule 68 offers to moot claims, courts are rejecting the underlying contract concepts that Rule 68 needs.

Just as Rule 68 requires following the contract concepts of “offer and acceptance,” section C demonstrates that the Diaz approach satisfies any jurisdictional issues because it has a bright-line test that gives courts the necessary jurisdiction.

C. The Diaz Approach Resolves the Mootness Jurisdictional Issue by Creating a Bright-Line Test

The judiciary only has authority over issues within its jurisdiction. 214See supra notes 44– 45 and accompanying text. Constitutional limits on jurisdiction prohibit the judicial branch from performing a variety of duties, for example, providing advisory opinions, answering political questions, or deciding issues that are moot. 21513 Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3529 (describing the various limits placed on the judicial branch through concepts of justiciability). When a case is moot, courts are powerless to render judgment. 216See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))). However, various circuit courts have held claims to be moot, but then entered a judgment. 217See supra Part II.B–C (describing the Rand approach and McCauleyO’Brien approach, which enters judgment for the defendant or plaintiff, respectively, once a Rule 68 offer moots the claim). By following the Diaz approach, circuit courts will have a bright-line jurisdictional rule that solves this problem. On the other hand, the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches create standards that allow for unnecessary, meritless litigation over the antecedent question of whether the claim is moot. 218See infra Part V.

While flexible standards might be acceptable in a variety of judicial contexts, bright-line rules are the preferred choice when determining the existence of federal jurisdiction. 219Jonathan Remy Nash, On the Efficient Deployment of Rules and Standards to Define Federal Jurisdiction, 65 Vand. L. Rev. 509, 560 (2012) (“[This article] has shown, as a normative matter, that rules are preferable to standards along the boundary of federal court jurisdiction.”); see also Scott Dodson & Elizabeth McCuskey, Structuring Jurisdictional Rules and Standards, 65 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 31, 31–32 (2012) (expressing approval for the argument of applying rules to threshold requirements). The Diaz approach concretely clarifies any jurisdictional issues regarding Rule 68—none exist. By allowing courts to ponder over issues of mootness within Rule 68, different standards will continue to arise. The debate over the proper mootness standard will continue to conflict with Rule 68’s goal of avoiding litigation.

Further, by finding a case moot, circuit courts might be lacking the requisite federal jurisdiction to enter judgment for the plaintiffs. 220The Rand approach might not suffer from the possibility of lacking jurisdiction to enter judgment for plaintiffs (and some circuit courts following the Rand approach do dismiss the claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction). In Rand, the Seventh Circuit would not find for the plaintiff because the plaintiff refused to accept the offer. Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). The Seventh Circuit did not explicitly state that jurisdictional restrictions forced it to hold for the defendant; however, it did state that when a plaintiff refuses the offer, the plaintiff must lose. Id. However, the Seventh Circuit’s recent Chapman case sheds additional light on the possibility of the Rand approach causing this jurisdictional dilemma. See Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy. . . . As soon as the offer was made, the case would have gone up in smoke, and the court would have lost the power to enter the decree.”); see also Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 371–72 (4th Cir. 2012) (“[W]hen a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))). However, the McCauleyO’Brien approach does exactly that. 221See supra Part II.C. Circuit courts applying McCauley–O’Brien attempted to satisfy plaintiffs’ needs, but these courts had already taken away their own authority. 222See supra Part II.C. In McCauley, the circuit court rendered judgment over-and-above the district court’s favorable judgment for the plaintiff. 223McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 342 (2d Cir. 2005). Instead of simply mooting the claim based on an offer of complete relief, the court created a precedent, as desired by the plaintiff, and provided all the monetary relief that the plaintiff had requested. 224Id. In O’Brien, the circuit court mooted the claim but still entered judgment for the plaintiff equal to defendant’s offer. 225O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567, 575–76 (6th Cir. 2009).

Although circuits applying the Rand approach enter judgment for the defendant, the courts’ reasoning in these cases follows the contract requirement of offer and acceptance. 226See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991) (stating that a plaintiff that refuses to accept complete relief must lose outright), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). When Rand was decided, the Seventh Circuit only entered judgment for the defendant because the plaintiff refused to accept the offer. 227Id. In addition to following contract theory, the Seventh Circuit may have stayed within the bounds of its jurisdiction. 228See id. Entering judgment for the defendant may also violate mootness doctrine. Rather, the case would need to be dismissed. See Chapman, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy.”). Subsequently, the Fourth Circuit in Warren abided by the same jurisdictional boundary. 229See supra notes 105–16 and accompanying text. However, the court in Warren found that the plaintiff’s claim was not moot. 230Id. The court held that a court’s later determination of actual damages did not satisfy complete relief, even though the defendant agreed to pay any amount as determined by the court. 231Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 369, 373 (4th Cir. 2012). Whether by entering judgment for the plaintiff or entering judgment for the defendant because the plaintiff refuses the settlement offer, these cases reflect the courts’ desire to do justice. The bright-line test of the Diaz approach does justice.

Lastly, a clear jurisdictional rule for this reoccurring issue, rather than a loose standard, promotes judicial efficiency. 232See Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010) (“[A]dministrative simplicity is a major virtue in a jurisdictional statute.”); see also Louis Kaplow, Rules Versus Standards: An Economic Analysis, 42 Duke L.J. 557, 621 (1992) (concluding that frequent undesirable behavior is less costly with a rule rather than a standard); Nash, supra note 219, at 522 (“Rules are easier and less costly to apply; they thus conserve judicial and general legal resources.”). As previously discussed, Rule 68’s purpose is to encourage settlement and avoid litigation. 233Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985). By allowing parties to argue excessively over whether an offer for complete relief moots a claim, the non-Diaz applications of Rule 68 encourage animosity and prolong litigation. 234See Kaplow, supra note 232, at 571 (arguing that, in contrast to a rule, it is more expensive to gain advice under a standard). The Diaz approach effectively ends this jurisdictional challenge.

In addition to its jurisdictional benefits, section D explains that the Diaz approach benefits society by deterring negative behavior in a more efficient and effective manner.

D. The Diaz Approach Deters Negative Behavior

The Diaz approach deters society as a whole from repeating a defendant’s wrongful behavior. General deterrence occurs in a lawsuit by signaling to other prospective litigants that society will not tolerate certain activities. 235Dan B. Dobbs, Ending Punishment in “Punitive” Damages: Deterrence-Measured Remedies, 40 Ala. L. Rev. 831, 845–46 (1989) (stating that general deterrence is used “not to deter the defendant himself, but to set an example to deter others who are not parties and who may have done nothing wrongful”). Companies do not want bad publicity. 236Leon Bracey, The Importance of Business Reputation, Bus. in Focus, Oct. 2012, at 123, http://www.businessinfocusmagazine.com/2012/10/the-importance-of-business-reputation/. A company often lives or dies by its reputation. 237Id.; see also Dylan Minor & John Morgan, CSR as Reputation Insurance: Primum Non Nocere, 53 Cal. Mgmt. Rev., Spring 2011, at 40, 40 (“For many firms, the most precious asset lies not on the balance sheet, nor in the human capital of the workforce, but rather in its reputation. For instance, IBM’s reputation for being an enterprise-friendly and efficient solutions provider has enabled it to beat rivals for business over many years. McDonald’s reputation for being a family-friendly and economical place to eat has sustained its market share in the face of fierce competition from other chains. However, reputation can be a fragile thing. Consider British Petroleum (BP) and its recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While BP had for years invested in its sunburst logo and various ‘do good’ and ‘be green’ campaigns, its reputation quickly slipped away in the midst of tragedy: its firm value was decimated by some $100 billion. Another example is Toyota, which became the largest automobile manufacturer through its reputation for reliability and value but has suffered as allegations of faulty accelerators and cover-ups of these problems have come to light. This can be seen vividly in the resale market where even Toyota vehicles unaffected by the recalls declined in value by an estimated 4–5%. Likewise Dell, which became the leading PC manufacturer largely on the basis of quality and low price, has suffered reverses in recent years owing to laptop batteries catching fire and other quality control problems. This has contributed to a cumulative loss of a third of its market value.”); Bruce Rogers, The #1 Asset for Growth in New Markets: Your Reputation, Forbes (Nov. 27, 2012, 10:38 AM), http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2012/11/27/the-1-asset-for-growth-in-new-markets-your-reputation (explaining how leveraging a good reputation can greatly increase sales). When companies know that certain business practices weaken its reputation, they often act in a more socially responsible manner. 238Eric A. Posner, Standards, Rules, and Social Norms, 21 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 101, 116 (1997) (“When reputation matters a lot, people will conform to whatever pattern of behavior they believe that everyone else approves.”); see also Paul Herbig & John Milewicz, The Relationship of Reputation and Credibility to Brand Success, 12 J. Consumer Marketing, 1995, at 5, 10 (“Equity once destroyed is difficult to replenish. Repeated mixed (false) signals will destroy reputation, not just of one product but of all members of the brand family. As reputation goes, profits follow.”); Minor & Morgan, supra note 237, at 43, 55 (explaining how “avoiding harm” compared to “doing good” is a powerful form of reputation insurance for companies); Bert van de Ven & Ronald Jeurissen, Competing Responsibly, 15 Bus. Ethics Q. 299, 309 (2005) (“Company policies, even when they do not affect the quality of products, can cause negative reputational effects among customers, when they perceive the policy as immoral or indecent.”). In addition to conforming to social norms, these companies will also be conducting their business in a preferable risk-averse setting. 239Kaplow, supra note 232, at 605 (stating that individuals prefer risk-averse choices, especially when given to them as legal advice).

The Diaz approach influences entities, particularly those that care about their reputation, to change their methods. 240See Posner, supra note 238. If they do not, they risk either paying too much to silence a claim or having a judgment that publicizes their actions. 241See supra Part II.E. This judgment signals to other potential defendants that such behavior is not tolerated. 242Frederick Schauer, Precedent, 39 Stan. L. Rev. 571, 588 (1987) (explaining how precedent guides current judges to follow decisions in previous similar cases). For example, in McCauley, the plaintiff insisted on a judgment against the defendant, not simply the monetary damages listed in his demand. 243McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 341 (2d Cir. 2005) (stating that the plaintiff “is seeking not just actual damages of $240, but more importantly, the precedential value of a judgment”). This plaintiff’s precedent provides additional pressure to cease these wrongful actions from the outset. 244Kaplow, supra note 232, at 611 (stating that predictability of standards is enhanced through precedent). Although the McCauley–O’Brien approach allows a Rule 68 offer to moot a claim, the ruling in the McCauley case 245McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341 (stating that the plaintiff wants “the precedential value of a judgment”). embodied the spirit of the Diaz approach—it satisfied the plaintiff’s demand for a judgment. 246See Brief of Plaintiff-Appellant at 45, Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyer’s Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 2013) (No. 11-57239), 2012 WL 3781507, at *45 (specifying that the plaintiff’s complaint “requested declaratory relief, and this Court’s cases applying the Declaratory Judgment Act required that Diaz’s claim for declaratory relief be included in the trial”). In Diaz, the plaintiff refused the defendant’s offer even though it likely would have fully satisfied her monetary claims. 247See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 951 (9th Cir. 2013). Like the plaintiff in McCauley, the plaintiff in Diaz wanted a precedent to show that the defendant’s actions were wrong. 248See Brief of Plaintiff-Appellant, supra note 246, at 45. These plaintiffs determined that a precedent would be better, even at the risk of losing their compensation. 249See Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950–51; McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341–42.

Although defendants have argued that monetary relief meets the standard of complete relief, plaintiffs should have the freedom to choose whether that form of compensation satisfies their entire demand. 250The contract concept of “freedom of choice” lends itself to efficient results. See Richard A. Posner, Economic Analysis of Law 20 (8th ed. 2011) (determining that unlike involuntary transactions, it is “only when resources are shifted pursuant to a voluntary transaction that we can be confident that the shift involves an increase in efficiency”). Instead of relying on the procedural schemes of mootness, the Diaz approach serves as the strongest deterrent because it is an exact rule. 251See Kaplow, supra note 232, at 605 (stating that individuals are more risk-averse when rules apply, rather than standards). Circuits applying the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches create standards for what constitutes complete relief; the Diaz approach provides the benefit of a bright-line rule between the prohibited and permissible conduct. 252Pierre J. Schlag, Rules and Standards, 33 UCLA L. Rev. 379, 384–89 (1985) (discussing the benefits of using rules versus standards); see also van de Ven & Jeurissen, supra note 238, at 307 (“[A] firm is pressured to break the law when the law is not enforced effectively enough to create a satisfactorily level playing field among the competition.”).

Part III explored the primary benefits of the Diaz approach. Part IV details two potential complications with this holding.

IV. Implications of the Diaz Approach

This Part evaluates two potential pitfalls of the Diaz approach. Section A describes the issue of excessive litigation. 253Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches would solve this problem because they moot the claim. See supra Part II.B–C. This issue is likely the strongest counterargument against the application of the Diaz approach because these cases often involve small monetary claims. 254In Stein, the Rule 68 offer for complete relief amounted to $16,500 plus costs. Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 700–01 (11th Cir. 2014). This offer was greater than other Rule 68 offers for complete relief based on this author’s research. See, e.g., Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *1 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) ($1,000 plus costs and reasonable attorney fees); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *2 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (awarding $3,002, an injunction, plus costs); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015) (awarding $10,000 plus interest, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and any other damages sought for the individual’s claims); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 950 (9th Cir. 2013) (awarding $7,019.32 plus costs); Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 942 (8th Cir. 2012) (awarding $181.20 plus costs); Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 369 (4th Cir. 2012) (awarding $1,251 plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees); McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340 (2d Cir. 2005) (awarding $240 plus costs); Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597 (7th Cir. 1991) (awarding $1,135 plus costs). Section B then describes the concern over non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. 255The Rand approach solves this problem because the court enters judgment for the defendant. See supra Part II.B. The McCauleyO’Brien approach would allow this issue to linger because the court enters judgment for the plaintiff. See supra Part II.C. The McCauleyO’Brien approach may also solve this problem because mooted claims might not be valid judgments. See supra Part II.C. As daunting as that legal doctrine may be as a potential weakness to the application of the Diaz approach, its use would never be warranted in practice.

A. Excessive Litigation

If both parties agree that the defendant’s offer satisfies all that the plaintiff sought, then finding the case moot could satisfy Rule 68’s twin goals of encouraging settlement and avoiding litigation. 256See Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985) (stating the purpose of Rule 68); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *4 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If there is only one plaintiff, however, why should a court supply a subsidized dispute-resolution service when the defendant’s offer means that there’s no need for judicial assistance, and when other litigants, who do need the court’s aid, are waiting in a queue? Ordering a defendant to do what it is willing to do has no legitimate claim on judicial time. Why should a judge do legal research and write an opinion on what may be a complex issue when the plaintiff can have relief for the asking? Opinions are supposed to be the byproducts of real disputes.”). However, this result, which expedites the case, suffers a practical flaw. In reality, plaintiffs that accept Rule 68 offers for complete relief never create the judicial work in the first place. Further, plaintiffs who agree that their claims have been completely satisfied, but refuse to accept the defendant’s offers, continue to clog the judicial branch with legal work. 257See Doyle v. Midlands Credit Mgmt., Inc., 722 F.3d 78, 80 (2d Cir. 2013) (showing that the plaintiff’s counsel agreed that the defendant’s offer provided all the relief that the plaintiff sought, but still refused the offer and appealed the case, which led to the Second Circuit’s decision). Likewise, plaintiffs could just as easily argue that complete relief is not satisfied through monetary compensation. 258See supra notes 243–48 and accompanying text. For all these reasons, and as existing jurisprudence has already shown, “complete relief” is a litigious idea. 259See supra Part II (describing the jurisprudence of Rule 68 and mootness, which also shows the significant litigation that has arisen from this contested idea). Instead of the parties digging into the case itself, they spend countless hours arguing over whether the defendant offered complete relief to the plaintiff. 260See supra Part II. In an ideal society, in which complete relief had a single meaning, mootness might go hand-in-hand with Rule 68. 261See supra Part II. However, this single meaning does not exist in the practical legal world. 262See supra Part II.

Another latent argument against the application of the Diaz approach is that it allows obstinate plaintiffs to employ wasteful litigation tactics. 263See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting). Although this argument has merit, Justice Kagan noted that courts still have discretion to enter “judgment for the plaintiff when the defendant unconditionally surrenders and only the plaintiff’s obstinacy or madness prevents her from accepting total victory.” 264Id. This means that in certain instances, a court may force the plaintiff to accept the judgment. 265See id. However, this result sacrifices freedom of choice and should only be implemented when the court recognizes that no benefit can result from continuing the litigation. 266See id. Cases in which a plaintiff desires a precedent for societal benefits would likely counter any perceived “madness.” 267Judges would still have discretion to determine when a plaintiff is acting out of completely irrational madness. Id.

B. Mistaken Creation of Non-Mutual Offensive Issue Preclusion

Another weakness of the Diaz approach is the possibility of defendants suffering from non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. 268See Diane M. Saunders, To Be Or Not To Be: Mooting Rule 23 Class Actions Through Rule 68 Offers of Judgment, Ogletree Deakins: Our Insights (Nov. 25, 2014), http://www.ogletreedeakins.com/shared-content/content/blog/2014/november/to-be-or-not-to-be-mooting-rule-23-class-actions-through-rule-68-offers-of-judgment (noting that non-mutual offensive issue preclusion “could present complications for defendants focused only on the case at hand”). Non-mutual offensive issue preclusion 269See generally 18A Wright et al., supra note 27, § 4465.1 (2d ed. 2002) (providing background information on non-mutual preclusion). occurs when a defendant, who has lost a legal issue that would be determinative in future cases, automatically becomes liable for the harms suffered by future claimants. 270Richard Hynes, Inconsistent Verdicts, Issue Preclusion, and Settlement in the Presence of Judicial Bias, 2 U. Chi. L. Sch. Roundtable 663, 664 (1995) (explaining the basic mechanisms of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion). Because such issue had already received a valid judgment, the defendant would not be allowed to re-litigate the issue in such instances. 271Id. at 663. Instead, a later court would adopt the previous judgment as having conclusively resolved the legal issue. 272Id. at 664. The benefits of issue preclusion include preventing courts and litigants from wasting time and money, as well as avoiding inconsistent verdicts, by considering already litigated issues. 273Id. at 663. Issue preclusion has a similar goal to Rule 68: conserving time and resources. See, e.g., Jim Essig, Comment, Preclusion: Procedural Efficiency and the Right to Defend, 27 Houston L. Rev., March 1990, at 327, 336–37.

Opponents of the Diaz approach have argued that by requiring defendants to admit liability, defendants open themselves to future attacks of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. 274See Saunders, supra note 268. For example, a credit reporting agency commonly misreports individuals’ credit scores. Rather than waste excessive time and money litigating the cases, the credit reporting agency settles with the individuals who bring claims. 275Cf. McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340–41 (2d Cir. 2005) (involving a plaintiff who wanted a precedent, in addition to the monetary relief, for the defendant’s negligent reporting of his credit score). If an individual demands a precedent be established, the issue of whether the credit reporting agency commonly misreports credit scores might become a determined legal issue. 276See Hynes, supra note 270, at 663–64. This fear of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion would likely require the agency to spend excessive amounts of money to fight minor monetary claims. Although forcing the credit reporting agency to change its methods may benefit society, the excessive litigation would be contrary to Rule 68’s goal of reducing litigation. 277A compelling argument can be made that this outcome would save judicial resources in the long run because the agency and other wrongdoers could change their methods quickly to conform to the law. Additionally, the credit reporting agency may not contemplate that future plaintiffs would assert non-mutual offensive issue preclusion against it. The agency, unwittingly, might admit liability without realizing the future harms that it caused itself.

Although this fear over non-mutual offensive issue preclusion is understandable, judges would rarely allow its use in small monetary claims for the following two reasons. First, non-mutual offensive issue preclusion has the fewest benefits of all the preclusion doctrines, so its judicial use is the most scrutinized. 278See Parklane Hosiery Co., Inc. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 329–31 (1979) (stating that several motivations exist for the avoidance of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion, which do not occur for defensive issue preclusion). Second, and more importantly, the Supreme Court has provided several factors that limit the use of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. 279Id. at 329–31. Specifically, the Court determined that a defendant that is being sued for small or nominal damages should not be exposed to non-mutual offensive issue preclusion. 280See id. at 330 (supporting the denial of non-mutual offensive collateral estoppel where the defendant did not appeal an adverse judgment of $35,000 in damages and was later sued for over $7 million). Therefore, the scrutiny and strict requirements that accompany judicial use of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion protect defendants from this preclusion doctrine. 281Ian H. Fisher, Federal Rule 68, A Defendant’s Subtle Weapon: Its Use and Pitfalls, 14 DePaul Bus. L.J. 89, 92 (2001) (“[T]he elements necessary for collateral estoppel do not exist where a plaintiff accepts a Rule 68 offer of judgment.”). While researching for this Comment, no cases were found in which non-mutual offensive issue preclusion was successfully used.

Having surveyed the benefits and drawbacks of the Diaz approach, Part V explores the inadequacies of the alternatives: the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches.

V. Problems with the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien Approaches

Besides the Diaz approach, which dictates that a Rule 68 offer never moots an individual’s claim, two other procedural approaches exist. 282See supra Part II.B–C. The Rand approach holds that a Rule 68 offer can moot a claim and judgment is entered for the defendant because the plaintiff will not accept it. 283See supra Part II.B. The McCauleyO’Brien approach finds that a Rule 68 offer can moot a claim, but judgment is entered for the plaintiff. 284See supra Part II.C. As promising as the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches may appear, both frustrate principles described in Part III. 285See supra Part III. This Part reiterates their weaknesses. Section A explains how both approaches contradict the principles of textualism, purposivism, and jurisdictional clarity. Then, section B describes the Rand approach’s minimal deterrence, and how the McCauleyO’Brien approach ignores the requisite contract terms of agreement. 286Section A focuses on sections A and C of Part III, while section B corresponds to sections B and D of Part III. Part V follows this order to group the Rand approach and the McCauley–O’Brien approach in a more intelligible manner.

A. Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien Approaches Contradict Textualism, Purposivism, and Jurisdictional Clarity

Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches ignore principles of textualism, purposivism, and jurisdictional clarity.

Section A of Part III explored the text and purpose of Rule 68, particularly the language in the rule that states that unaccepted offers are not admissible as evidence, except to determine the cost of the action. 287See supra notes 188–89 and accompanying text. Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches, however, allow judges to evaluate the merits of an unaccepted offer with the ability to moot the claim. 288See supra Part II.B–C (detailing the case law and application of the Rand and McCauley–O’Brien approaches). The Diaz approach returns Rule 68 to its original goal by incentivizing voluntary settlements without judicial authority to dismiss. 289Id. at 1536 (“Rule 68’s exclusive purpose [is] to promote voluntary cessation of litigation.”).

Section C of Part III detailed the benefits of using rules over standards, specifically for the clarity that rules provide for threshold jurisdictional requirements. 290See supra Part III.C. Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches create standards. 291See supra Part II.B–C. These standards allow defendants to argue about the required jurisdiction, encouraging unwarranted litigation about mootness and jurisdictional requirements. 292By allowing these standards to exist, courts have created varying jurisdictional standards. This initial jurisdiction requirement may even lead to defendant’s attempting to transfer venues, which would cause forum shopping, see Forum Shopping Reconsidered, 103 Harv. L. Rev. 1677, 1684 (1990) (stating that litigants forum shop for the most favorable forum, rather than the simplest or closest one). Mootness doctrine states that once a case is moot, courts no longer have jurisdiction over it. 293See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))). The McCauleyO’Brien approach allows a court to find a case moot, but then enter judgment for the plaintiff. 294See supra Part II.C. The Rand approach might also be violating this principle of mootness by entering judgment for the defendant. The court may not have jurisdiction to enter any judgment at all, but must rather dismiss the case. See Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy.”). These judgments go beyond the boundaries of the courts’ jurisdiction. 295See supra Part III.C. By entering these judgments, courts overstepped their judicial authority. 296See supra Part III.C (explaining the jurisdictional issue where courts cannot adjudicate decisions that are moot, and explaining how the Diaz approach overcomes this dilemma). The creation of a concrete, bright-line jurisdictional rule—specifically, that Rule 68 offers can never moot an individual’s claim—ends such jurisdictional litigation and confusion.

While the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches have similar defects, their split as to which party receives the judgment creates additional problems.

B. The Rand Approach Has Minimal Deterrence and the McCauleyO’Brien Approach Ignores Fundamental Contract Concepts

The Rand approach is the least effective deterrent to the defendant’s negative behavior, and the McCauleyO’Brien approach is contrary to principles of contract theory. 297See supra Parts II–III.

Section D of Part III explained how society benefits from rules that deter wrongful behavior. 298See supra Part III.D. Out of the three options outlined herein, the Rand approach provides the least effective deterrent because the court moots the claim and enters judgment for the defendant. 299Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). Although this deterrence issue exists, it has minimal importance because the claims often involve small monetary compensation. 300See supra note 254 and accompanying text. Even so, the precedent established by either the Diaz approach or the McCauleyO’Brien approach still allows some forcefulness behind their judgments. As previously discussed, companies will change their methods when they are publicly shamed and subject to litigation. 301See supra notes 235–39 and accompanying text.

Section B of Part III evaluated how Rule 68 offers require an offer by the defendant and an acceptance by the plaintiff. 302See supra Part III.B. Declining an offer by rejection or lapse of time terminates the offer. 303See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 36 (Am. Law Inst. 1981) (stating that an offer may be terminated by the offeree’s rejection or lapse of time). The McCauleyO’Brien approach ignores this fundamental contract concept. 304See supra Part III.B. The Rand approach also arguably ignores this fundamental contract concept, but this Comment does not make this claim. This question exists because the Rand approach does not force acceptance of an offer that has already been rejected, but rather enters judgment for the defendant. It allows courts to moot the claim, and then accept the offer for the plaintiff, even though the plaintiff rejected it. 305See supra Part II.C. Although courts that follow McCauleyO’Brien take no issue with this proposition, Justice Kagan refused to accept this notion: “An unaccepted settlement offer—like any unaccepted contract offer—is a legal nullity, with no operative effect.” 306Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting). Once Justice Kagan’s dissent was published, five circuit courts followed her lead. In chronological order, the Ninth, Eleventh, Second, Seventh, and First Circuits recognized the importance of rejecting the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. 307Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015); Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953–55 (9th Cir. 2013). The Ninth Circuit recently relied on its precedent set by Diaz to decide Gomez. 308Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F. 3d 871, 875 (9th Cir. 2014). The Supreme Court has granted certiorari 309See Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). to address this case involving a marketing company that sent unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy to a middle-aged man. 310Gomez, 768 F. 3d at 874–75. If the Court reverses the Diaz approach, consumers will have fewer safeguards against the continuously unwanted and unwelcomed messages and mistakes.

Conclusion

This Comment does not just resolve a circuit split. Rather, it addresses an issue that can affect anyone going about his or her daily routine. Whether you need a loan for your home, insurance for your health, or are just sick of a harassing telemarketer, the Diaz approach helps you. While academic in nature, this Comment seeks to fix a problem that everyday people inadvertently face. Can companies create harm and simply throw a few dollars your way to make it disappear? This Comment answers this question in the negative.

Let us return to the Introduction’s hypothetical: As a recent law school graduate disregarded by TransUnion, you want justice. TransUnion haphazardly ruined your credit score. Instead of fixing its practices, TransUnion attempts to silence you with a Rule 68 settlement offer. By applying the Diaz approach, you witness its four key benefits happen firsthand. 311See supra Part III.A–D (assessing how the Diaz approach (a) satisfies both textualist and purposivist principles, (b) upholds fundamental contract theory concepts, (c) resolves the jurisdictional issue, and (d) deters negative behavior). First, Rule 68’s text and committee notes never discussed the possibility of mootness, so your claim will not be moot. 312See supra Part III.A. Second, as illustrated by the basic principles of contract law, rejecting the settlement offer is as if the offer had never been made. 313See supra Part III.B. While contracts may have been taught separately from civil procedure, the law does not distinguish. Third, because your claim is not moot, the trial court will have the necessary jurisdiction. 314See supra Part III.C. Although the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches raise questionable jurisdiction issues involving mootness, the Diaz approach allows you to directly litigate the merits of your claim. Fourth, and most important to you, since you have decided not to succumb to the pressures of a settlement from TransUnion’s attorneys, your decision will become a public judgment. 315See supra Part III.D. It warns companies that these actions are not tolerated. Companies cannot mysteriously make such individuals’ claims disappear.

While your claim may not send waves through these companies’ methods, it will send ripples. You chose to bring a lawsuit that serves society’s best interests. The Diaz approach allows you to have your day in court. Since Justice Kagan’s dissent in Genesis, the Diaz approach has gained traction. 316See supra notes 174–81 and accompanying text. This Comment supports its application and advocates for the Supreme Court to resolve this circuit split by adopting the Diaz approach in its upcoming decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. 317See Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.); Petition for Writ of Certiorari, supra note 6, at *i (requesting certiorari by the Supreme Court for three questions, including “[w]hether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim”).

Footnotes

1Fed R. Civ. P. 68; see infra Part I.A for a description of the procedure for using Rule 68.

2See Steven S. Gensler, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Rules and Commentary 1268 (2010) (explaining that Rule 68 encourages settlement through cost-shifting); see also Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985).

3See infra Part II.B–E (exploring cases where defendants attempted to moot claims using Rule 68).

4See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528–29 (2013); see also Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 951–53 (9th Cir. 2013).

5See 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). In Gomez, the plaintiff brought personal and putative class action claims against the defendant, a marketing company, for sending unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy. Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871, 873 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.). The district court granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion, holding that the defendant was immune from liability under the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity. Id. at 874. In addition to disagreeing with the district court’s derivative sovereign immunity holding, the Ninth Circuit held that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief does not moot a claim. Id. at 874–75. The court applied the precedent established by Diaz. Id. This Comment supports the Diaz decision and recommends that the Supreme Court adopt this position.

6See Gomez, 768 F.3d 871; Petition for Writ of Certiorari at i, Campbell-Ewald, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (No. 14-857), 2015 WL 241891, at *i (requesting certiorari by the Supreme Court for three questions, including “[w]hether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim”). However, Campbell-Ewald might not resolve the Rule 68 question because the Court could decide the case based on the third question presented: “Whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity recognized in Yearsley v. W.A. Ross Construction Co., 309 U.S. 18 (1940), for government contractors is restricted to claims arising out of property damaged by public works projects.” Id. If the Court rules on derivative sovereign immunity grounds, then it will not need to answer the mootness question. The Court will likely resolve the mootness dispute, however, because of the three-way circuit split that currently exists. See infra Part II.B–E. Granting certiorari for this issue has also led to a significant flurry of articles about the circuit split. See, e.g., BuckleySandler LLP, Supreme Court Grants Cert. to Decide if Offer of Complete Relief Moots Case, JD Supra Bus. Advisor (May 26, 2015), http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/supreme-court-grants-cert-to-decide-if-46489/; Michael F. Dolan et al., Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in TCPA Case that May Determine Whether an Offer of Complete Relief Moots a Class Action, Jones Day (May 2015), http://www.jonesday.com/supreme-court-grants-certiorari-in-tcpa-case-that-may-determine-whether-an-offer-of-complete-relief-moots-a-class-action-05-22-2015/; Richard B. Katskee & Brian D. Netter, Supreme Court Docket Report—May 18, 2015, Mondaq (May 19, 2015), http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/398416/trials+appeals+compensation/upreme+Court+Docket+Report+May+18+2015; Lawrence I. Weinstein & James Unger, Clarification for Class Action Settlements May Be on the Line as Supreme Court Grants Cert in TCPA Case, Nat’l L. Rev. (July 16, 2015), http://www.natlawreview.com/article/clarification-class-action-settlements-may-be-line-supreme-court-grants-cert-tcpa-ca.

7Cf. McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340–41 (2d Cir. 2005) (involving a plaintiff who wanted a precedent, in addition to the monetary relief, for the defendant’s negligent reporting of his credit score). This Comment recognizes that the case refers to the party as “Trans Union L.L.C.”; however, the company currently identifies itself online as “TransUnion.”

8See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68.

9See Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365 (4th Cir. 2012); Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011); Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004).

10See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 2013).

11See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015).

12See Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.).

13See Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698 (11th Cir. 2014).

14See Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015) (“Six other circuit courts have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all requested relief can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim. . . . we agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.”); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The federal courts of appeals are split on this question. The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant. On the other hand, the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, the two courts of appeals that have considered this question most recently, have reached the opposite conclusion.”); Diaz, 732 F.3d at 952–54.

15See infra Part II.B–C (detailing the circuit split over whether the judgment should be entered for the defendant or the plaintiff once the claim is rendered moot by a Rule 68 offer).

16This Comment does not address the issue of using Rule 68 offers to “pick off” individual claimants prior to class certification. See, e.g., Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011); Sandoz v. Cingular Wireless L.L.C., 553 F.3d 913 (5th Cir. 2008); Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004). Even if a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim, the pick-off strategy with Rule 68 offers is likely over. See Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“Six other circuit courts have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all requested relief can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim. In none of those circuits, however, did such a holding result in a putative class action being mooted.”). Further, while this Comment discusses cases with class certification—and while the Diaz approach would effectively end the pick-off strategy in Rule 68 offers—this strategy has received greater attention. See, e.g., M. Andrew Campanelli, Note, You Can Pick Your Friends, but You Cannot Pick Off the Named Plaintiff of a Class Action: Mootness and Offers of Judgment Before Class Certification, 4 Drexel L. Rev. 523 (2012); David Hill Koysza, Note, Preventing Defendants from Mooting Class Actions by Picking Off Named Plaintiffs, 53 Duke L.J. 781 (2003). More importantly, the Supreme Court recently held that when an individual’s claim is mooted in connection to a class action in a Rule 68 offer, the claim must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1532 (2013). In Genesis, the Supreme Court explicitly left open the question that this Comment wishes to resolve: whether a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim. Id. at 1528–29.

17See Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1528–29; see also Diaz, 732 F.3d at 951–53.

18732 F.3d at 954–55.

19133 S. Ct. at 1535 (Kagan, J., dissenting).

20Diaz, 732 F.3d at 954–55.

21See infra Part III.A.

22See infra Part III.B.

23See infra Part III.C.

24See infra Part III.D.

25See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

26See infra Conclusion.

27Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985); see also 12 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3001 (3d ed. 2014) (describing the history and purpose of Rule 68).

28See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68.

29Gensler, supra note 2, at 1269–70. The amount offered does not need to be a dollar figure. Id. at 1271. However, the offer must be specific enough that the “plaintiff can calculate the actual benefit.” Id. Further, the offer may include terms of declaratory or injunctive relief. Id.

30Id. at 1269.

31Id. at 1270. Rule 68(a) describes the appropriate procedures for making and accepting a Rule 68 offer:Making an Offer; Judgment on an Accepted Offer. At least 14 days before the date set for trial, a party defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued. If, within 14 days after being served, the opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer, either party may then file the offer and notice of acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter judgment.Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(a).

32Id. at 1267 (practice commentary). Rule 68 is inapplicable when the defendant wins. Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. August, 450 U.S. 346, 352 (1981) (“[Rule 68] is simply inapplicable to this case because it was the defendant that obtained the judgment.”).

33Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267. Post-offer costs always include statutory costs, like filing fees and court reporter fees. Id. They can include attorneys’ fees when the relevant statute defines them as “costs.” Id. Rule 68(d) describes these costs’ consequences for the plaintiff: “Paying Costs After an Unaccepted Offer. If the judgment that the offeree finally obtains is not more favorable than the unaccepted offer, the offeree must pay the costs incurred after the offer was made.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(d).

34Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267 (“An unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn, but it does not preclude a later offer.”).

35Id. Rule 68(b) states that “[a]n unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn, but it does not preclude a later offer. Evidence of an unaccepted offer is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.” Id. This language is glossed over by the circuit courts that accept Rule 68 offers can moot claims. See infra Part II.B–C. The plain language in Rule 68 should preclude a defendant from contending that an offer can be considered in judicial rulings.

36See Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 23 (1985) (Brennan, J., dissenting). Just like all of the other Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the drafters wanted Rule 68 to have a “uniform, consistent application in all proceedings in federal court.” Id. The drafters favored rules that simplified the proceedings. See id.

37Cf. Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 700–01 (11th Cir. 2014); Peter Jamison, Unwanted Faxes Could Create $270M Headache for Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Times (June 21, 2013, 4:54 PM), http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/civil/unwanted–faxes–could–create–270–million–headache–for–tampa–bay–buccaneers/2127955; see also supra note 16.

38See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1278–81.

39Fed. R. Civ. P. 68. The Diaz approach corrects this inflated interpretation.

40See supra Part I.A.

41See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))).

42“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases . . . [and] Controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1.

43See, e.g., 13B Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3533.1 (“There is reason to wonder whether much reliance should be placed on constitutional concepts of mootness when these concepts are as flexible as they are.”); Note, The Mootness Doctrine in the Supreme Court, 88 Harv. L. Rev. 373 (1974) (“The broadly phrased case or controversy requirement leaves the Court with substantial discretion to determine whether a case is justiciable in borderline situations.”); Corey C. Watson, Comment, Mootness and the Constitution, 86 Nw. U. L. Rev. 143, 143 (1991) (“The Supreme Court’s decision in Honig v. Doe is a recent reminder of the confusion and disagreement surrounding the doctrine of mootness.”).

44Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528 (2013).

45See Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 721, 726–27 (2013) (“A case becomes moot—and therefore no longer a ‘Case’ or ‘Controversy’ for purposes of Article III—‘when the issues presented are no longer “live” or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.’” (quoting Murphy v. Hunt, 455 U.S. 478, 481(1982) (per curiam))); Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 317 (1988) (“Under Article III of the Constitution this Court may only adjudicate actual, ongoing controversies.”).

46Note, supra note 43, at 376.

47Steffel v. Thompson, 415 U.S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974) (citing Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 125 (1973)).

48See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1278–81.

49See Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980); U.S. Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 404 (1980).

50See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

51See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1528–29 (2013).

52See infra Part II.B–C.

53See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 952–53 (9th Cir. 2013).

54See infra Part II.B–C.

55See infra Part II.B–C.

56See infra Part II.E.

57See supra notes 5– 6 and accompanying text.

58445 U.S. 326 (1980).

59445 U.S. 388 (1980).

60Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340. Neither case involved a defendant making a Rule 68 offer. However, these decisions demonstrate the conflict in interpreting the mootness doctrine. Mootness is the central issue in Rule 68 offers for complete relief. See Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–04 (11th Cir. 2014).

61Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 330.

62See Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 330.

63See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1529–32 (2013).

64Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340.

65Roper, 445 U.S. at 327–28.

66Id. at 329.

67Id.

68Id. The Court never addressed whether this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claim even though it was offered with the conditions that the defendant was neither waiving his defenses nor admitting his liability. See id. However, a similar conditional settlement was given in the Second Circuit’s McCauley case, which did impact the court’s holding. See McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 341–42 (2d Cir. 2005). In McCauley, the court held that the defendant did not offer complete relief because the settlement offer included conditions that the offer “not be construed as an admission of liability and that it remain confidential and filed under seal.” Id.

69Roper, 445 U.S. at 329.

70Id. at 330.

71Id.

72Id. As shown, defendants’ efforts to pick off individual claimants in a class action are not limited to Rule 68 offers. See supra note 16.

73See Roper, 445 U.S. at 330.

74Id. at 336.

75See id. at 340.

76Id.

77U.S. Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 394 (1980).

78Id. at 390.

79Id. at 393–94.

80Id. at 394.

81Id.

82Id. at 400 (emphasis added).

83Id. at 404.

84Id.

85Id.; Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank. v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980). However, the Seventh Circuit, the first court to address the issue of mootness in Rule 68 offers, accepted the mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015).

86See Geraghty, 445 U.S. at 404; Roper, 445 U.S. at 340.

87Roper, 445 U.S. at 336–40.

88See All. to End Repression v. City of Chicago, 820 F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 1987) (“Our conclusion that this case is not justiciable answers a question raised in [Roper]: whether a plaintiff who is offered all the relief he demands may refuse the offer and go to trial. The answer is no.”).

89See Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 368 (4th Cir. 2012); O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567 (6th Cir. 2009); McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340 (2d Cir. 2005); Rand, 926 F.2d 596.

90926 F.2d at 598 (“Once the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate . . . and a plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright.” (citing All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d 873)). By the time the Seventh Circuit ruled in Rand, the Seventh Circuit had already interpreted Roper. See All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d at 878. The Seventh Circuit overruled Rand and adopted the Diaz approach on August 6, 2015. See infra note 98 and accompanying text.

91All. to End Repression, 820 F.3d at 878 (holding that a plaintiff who is offered all the relief he demands may not refuse the offer and go to trial).

92Rand, 926 F.2d at 597–98.

93Id. at 597.

94Id. The defendant attempted to pick off the plaintiff to end the possibility of a class action early. See id. at 597–98.

95 Id. at 597–98.

96Id. at 598.

97Id. at 597–98. In 2011, the Seventh Circuit reaffirmed this holding. Damasco v. Clearwire Corp., 662 F.3d 891, 895 (7th Cir. 2011) (“[O]nce the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate, and the plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright . . . because he has no remaining stake.” (quoting Rand, 926 F.2d at 598)).

98Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“We overrule Damasaco, Thorogood, Rand, and similar decisions to the extent they hold that a defendant’s offer of full compensation moots the litigation or otherwise ends the Article III case or controversy.”). In Chapman, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against the defendant for sending solicited or unsolicited facsimiles without instructions on how to opt out of receiving them. Id. at *1. When the plaintiff’s motion to represent a class of non-consenting recipients was pending, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer to moot the plaintiff’s individual claims. See id. at *2. The Seventh Circuit thought “it best to clean up the law of this circuit promptly,” which led to its acceptance of the Diaz approach. Id. at *3.

99See Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The Third, Fourth, Fifth, . . . Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant.”). Instead of entering judgment for the defendants, courts might dismiss the mooted claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Although this distinction exists, this outcome still favors defendants to the greatest extent, which is the focus of the Rand approach.

100Weiss v. Regal Collections, 385 F.3d 337 (3d Cir. 2004). In Weiss, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against the defendants for mailing a letter that demanded an alleged debt owed. Id. at 339. Before the plaintiff moved to certify a class, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claim. Id. at 339–40. The district court found that this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claim and dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 340. On appeal, the Third Circuit held that the claim was not moot because it was in the context of a defendant attempting to pick off the representative plaintiff in a class action. Id. at 345, 349–50. However, the court also cited to Rand for the proposition that “[a]n offer of complete relief will generally moot the plaintiff’s claim, as at that point the plaintiff retains no personal interest in the outcome of the litigation.” Id. at 340.

101Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 371–72 (4th Cir. 2012).

102Lucero v. Bureau of Collection Recovery, Inc., 639 F.3d 1239 (10th Cir. 2011). In Lucero, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and New Mexico Collection Agency Regulatory Act. Id. at 1241 . Alongside its answer to plaintiff’s complaint, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer of judgment, including damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Id. Several months later, the plaintiff moved for class certification, and the defendant moved to dismiss the claim. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the claim as moot. Id. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the defendant’s offer was an attempt to pick off (or “buy off”) the representative plaintiff early in a class action. Id. The Tenth Circuit reversed this decision because the district court did not consider the “undoubtedly timely motion for certification.” Id. The court focused on the pick-off strategy of the Rule 68 offer in a class action. Id. at 1248–49. In its discussion of Rule 68, the court noted that “[a]s Rule 68 operates, if an offer is made for a plaintiff’s maximum recovery, his action may be rendered moot.” Id. at 1243 (citing 13B Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3533.2, at 800 (3d ed. 2008)). Before turning to a discussion about the effect of Rule 68 offers on class certification, the court noted that “[w]hile we have yet to address the question squarely, other circuits have concluded that if a defendant makes an offer of judgment in complete satisfaction of a plaintiff’s claims in a non-class action, the plaintiff’s claims are rendered moot because he lacks a remaining interest in the outcome of the case.” Id.; see Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953 & n.5 (9th Cir. 2013) (discussing the Tenth Circuit and the Lucero case).

103Samsung Elecs. Co. Ltd. v. Rambus, Inc., 523 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2008). In previous litigation, the plaintiff Rambus filed a complaint in the Northern District of California against the defendant Samsung for alleged infringement of four of its patents. Id. at 1376. The next day, Samsung filed for a declaratory judgment in the Eastern District of Virginia seeking a ruling that the same patents were “invalid, unenforceable, and not infringed.” Id. In prior litigation concerning the same patents, Rambus had filed a complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia against another defendant, Infineon. Id. In the Infineon litigation, the court ruled from the bench that Rambus had unclean hands due to the spoliation of evidence. Id. at 1377. Rambus quickly settled that litigation, and the adverse ruling became an unpublished finding. Id. However, Samsung wanted to invoke collateral estoppel based on the Infineon spoliation finding in Samsung’s own motion for attorneys’ fees. Id. Instead, Rambus made a Rule 68 offer to compensate Samsung for the full amount of its requested attorney fees. Id. Samsung rejected this offer and argued for its attorney fees motion. Id. Citing to Rand, the Federal Circuit found that “[a]n offer for full relief moots a claim for attorney fees.” Id. at 1379. According to the Federal Circuit, “the offer of the full amount in dispute brought an end to the case and controversy between Rambus and Samsung. At that point the district court also lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to rule on the attorney fees motion. The case became moot.” Id. at 1381. Therefore, Samsung’s motion was mooted by Rambus’s Rule 68 offer. Id.

104Sandoz v. Cingular Wireless LLC, 553 F.3d 913 (5th Cir. 2008). In Sandoz, the plaintiff brought an opt-in class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act against the defendant for violating the law’s minimum wage provisions. Id. at 914. The defendant made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claim. Id. Like the plaintiff in Weiss, the court noted that the plaintiff’s individual claim was not moot because the defendant attempted to pick off the representative plaintiff in a potential class action. Id. at 920. The Fifth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine whether the plaintiff made a timely motion to certify a class action. Id. at 921–22. This ruling would determine whether the court should moot the claim: “If the [district] court ultimately grants the certification motion, then [defendant’s] Rule 68 offer of judgment only to [plaintiff] did not moot the case. Conversely, if the court denies the certification motion, then [plaintiff] still represents only herself, and [defendant’s] Rule 68 offer of judgment rendered the case moot.” Id. at 921. However, the Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Hooks v. Landmark Industry, Inc. may have changed its position. See Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3–4 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“Our circuit has not finally resolved whether a complete Rule 68 offer of judgment moots an individual's claim . . . We conclude that the reasoning of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits is more persuasive and therefore hold that an unaccepted offer of judgment to a named plaintiff in a class action ‘is a legal nullity, with no operative effect.’” (quoting Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533 (Kagan, J., dissenting))). Because the Fifth Circuit included the language “in a class action,” the court may not be ready to concede that a Rule 68 offer for complete relief should never moot an individual’s claim when a class action is not involved. However, this opinion also gives the Fifth Circuit an easy transition from the Rand approach to adopt the Diaz approach. The First Circuit’s recent opinion has already aligned the Fifth Circuit with the Diaz approach. Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015) (“[W]e agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.” (emphasis added)); but see Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The federal courts of appeals are split on this question. The Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Federal Circuits have all concluded that a Rule 68 offer of complete relief to an individual renders his case moot for purposes of Article III, regardless of whether judgment is entered against the defendant.” (emphasis added)).

105676 F.3d at 371–72 (“When a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain,’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))).

106Id. at 370–71.

107Id.

108Id. at 368–69.

109Id. at 369, 371; see 15 U.S.C.A. § 1692k(a)(2)(A) (2009) (allowing statutory damages up to $1000).

110Warren, 676 F.3d at 369. The defendant also offered to pay damages in “an amount determined by the Court upon Plaintiff’s submission of affidavits or other evidence of actual damage.” Id.

111Id.

112Id. at 370.

113Id. at 370–71.

114Id. (“[T]o effectuate the purposes of Rule 68, an offer of judgment ‘must specify a definite sum or other relief for which judgment may be entered and must be unconditional.’” (quoting Simmons v. United Mortg. & Loan Inv., 634 F.3d 754, 764 (4th Cir. 2011))).

115Id. at 372, 375.

116Compare Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991) (“Once the defendant offers to satisfy the plaintiff’s entire demand, there is no dispute over which to litigate, and a plaintiff who refuses to acknowledge this loses outright.” (citation omitted)), with Warren, 676 F.3d at 371 (“When a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain,’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))).

117Warren, 676 F.3d at 371; supra notes 99– 103 and accompanying text.

118See infra Part II.C.

119McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 342 (2d Cir. 2005).

120Id.

121See id.

122575 F.3d 567, 574–75 (6th Cir. 2009) (“We agree with the Seventh Circuit’s [Rand approach] that an offer of judgment that satisfies a plaintiff’s entire demand moots the case . . . . We disagree, however, with the Seventh Circuit’s view that a plaintiff loses outright . . . . Instead, we believe the better approach is to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with the defendants’ Rule 68 offer of judgment.”).

123Id. at 340.

124Id. at 341.

125Id. This offer is similar to the defendant’s offer in Roper, in which the defendant made an “Offer of Defendants to Enter Judgment as by Consent and Without Waiver of Defenses or Admission of Liability.” Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 329 (1980). The Supreme Court did not address whether the form of the offer mattered. See id. Further, the offer itself was not questioned as complete relief. See id. Instead, the decision turned on the plaintiff’s desire to shift litigation costs. Id. at 336, 340.

126McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341.

127Id.

128Id. at 342.

129Id.

130Id. at 341; see also Cabala v. Crowley, 736 F.3d 226, 231 (2d Cir. 2013) (holding that an offer that does not include an offer of judgment does not moot the claim).

131McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342.

132Id.

133The McCauley case was appealed from the Southern District of New York. See McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22713, at *1–2 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 16, 2003).

134McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342.

135Id.

136See Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 199–200 (2d Cir. 2015) (“The district courts within our Circuit have not deduced a single rule from our prior jurisprudence on the issue.”). In Tanasi, the plaintiff brought a putative class action against defendants for alleged improper assessment of overdraft fees. Id. at 197. The defendants made a Rule 68 offer for complete relief to moot the plaintiff’s individual claims. Id. The district court found that the plaintiff’s individual claims were mooted by the Rule 68 offer, but that its putative class action claims were not. Id. at 196. On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed the holding, but on different grounds—the court held “an unaccepted Rule 68 offer alone does not render a plaintiff’s individual claims moot before the entry of judgment against the defendants.” Id. at 197.

137Id. at 200 (“In light of this confusion, we find it necessary to the resolution of this case to clarify and reiterate that it remains the established law of this Circuit that a ‘rejected settlement [under Rule 68], by itself, [cannot] moot[] [a] case.’” (quoting McCauley, 402 F.3d at 342)). Although the Second Circuit considers Tanasi to simply clarify its previous McCauley holding, the case actually changes McCauley to follow the recent opinions that cite to Justice Kagan’s dissenting opinion in Genesis.

138See infra notes 142–48 and accompanying text.

139Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935 (8th Cir. 2012). In Hartis, the plaintiffs brought a putative class action against the defendant, a title insurance company, for allegedly retaining excessive fees. Id. at 939. The district court denied the plaintiffs’ class certification, and subsequently, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer of complete relief in order to moot the plaintiffs’ claims. Id. at 942. The district court found that the offer mooted the claims and determined that judgment should be entered for the plaintiff in accordance with the defendant’s offer. Id. at 949. However, due to a clerical error, the judgment entered dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction instead of entering judgment for the plaintiffs. Id. The Eighth Circuit cited to the Sixth Circuit’s O’Brien decision for the proposition that the court should give the amount of the mooted Rule 68 offer to the plaintiff—the McCauley–O’Brien approach. Id. Nonetheless, the Eighth Circuit never actually entered a judgment because the parties did not make the proper motion. Id. at 950. Instead, the court instructed the plaintiffs to make the proper motion to correct the district court’s clerical error when the case was sent back to the district court. Id. This tacit endorsement of the McCauley–O’Brien approach has led to varying results for the district courts within the Eighth Circuit. Compare Hendricks v. Inergy, L.P., No. 4:12CV00069 JLH, 2013 WL 6984634, at *6 (E.D. Ark. July 18, 2013) (“The Eighth Circuit has indicated that when an offer of judgment moots an action, the proper procedure is to enter judgment for the plaintiff in accordance with the Rule 68 offer of judgment.”), and Campbell v. Accounts Receivable Mgmt., Inc., No. 4:14-CV-00793-W-DGK, 2015 WL 4425823, at *3 (W.D. Mo. July 20, 2015) (stating that the Eighth Circuit has approved the McCauley–O’Brien approach, so a mooted Rule 68 offer should result in a district court entering “judgment in the amount offer by the defendant and then dismiss[ing] the case”), with Claxton v. Kum & Go, L.C., No. 6:14-cv-03385-MDH, 2014 WL 4854692, at *3 (W.D. Mo. Sept. 30, 2014) (“The Eighth Circuit has endorsed this principle in the context of class actions, holding that ‘[j]udgment should be entered against a putative class representative on a defendant's offer of payment . . . where class certification has been properly denied and the offer satisfies the representative's entire demand for injuries and costs of the suit.’” But the district courts within the Eighth Circuit even disagree on “whether a tender and rejection of an offer of judgment prior to a request for class certification will moot a class action suit.” (alterations and ellipsis in original) (quoting Alpern v. UtiliCorp. United, Inc., 84 F.3d 1525, 1539 (8th Cir. 1996))).

140See supra notes 121–22 and accompanying text.

141694 F.3d at 949.

142O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., 575 F.3d 567, 574–75 (6th Cir. 2009) (“We agree with the Seventh Circuit’s view that an offer of judgment that satisfies a plaintiff’s entire demand moots the case . . . . We disagree, however, with the Seventh Circuit’s view that a plaintiff loses outright . . . . Instead, we believe the better approach is to enter judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in accordance with the defendants’ Rule 68 offer of judgment.”).

143Id. at 572.

144Id. at 573.

145Id.

146Id.

147Id. at 575.

148Id. at 575–76. Interestingly, the Sixth Circuit did not discuss the Supreme Court’s holding in Roper that a personal interest in shifting litigation costs prevented mootness of the claim. Id.; see Deposit Guaranty Nat’l Bank v. Roper, 445 U.S. 326, 340 (1980).

149See supra Part II.B–E.

150See supra Part II.B–E.

151See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1534 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (stating that the Third Circuit should “rethink [its] mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory” and suggesting other circuits courts “[d]on’t try this at home”).

152Id. at 1528–29 (majority opinion).

153See id. at 1534 (Kagan, J., dissenting).

154The Court also stated that the plaintiff’s waiver of the issue and failure to raise the argument in the petition for certiorari require the Court to accept that the plaintiff’s individual claim was moot. Id. at 1529 (majority opinion). The Court specified that it was not answering the question addressed by this Comment: “While the Courts of Appeals disagree whether an unaccepted offer that fully satisfies a plaintiff’s claim is sufficient to render the claim moot, we do not reach this question, or resolve the split, because the issue is not properly before us.” Id. at 1528–29.

155Id. at 1533, 1535 (Kagan, J., dissenting) (“[T]he individual claims in such cases will never become moot, and a court will therefore never need to reach the issue the majority resolves. The majority’s decision is fit for nothing: Aside from getting this case wrong, it serves only to address a make-believe problem.”).

156Id.

157See infra Part II.E.

158See Recent Case, Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—Ninth Circuit Holds that Unaccepted Rule 68 Offer Does Not Moot Plaintiff’s Individual Claims, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 1260, 1267 (2014) (“Justice Kagan’s opinion relied, at its core, on pure logic . . . [her] reasoning may have been novel.”); 1 William B. Rubenstein, Newberg on Class Actions § 2:15 (5th ed. Supp. 2014) (“[T]he effect of Justice Kagan’s dissent has been to breathe life into the threshold question of mootness, creating a flurry of opinions on a question once deemed settled.”).

159Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533 (Kagan, J., dissenting).

160Id. at 1534, 1537. Although the majority holding in Genesis is somewhat irrelevant for this Comment, the Court held that when a plaintiff’s individual claim is moot, the fact that the plaintiff is pursuing a class action has no bearing, and the plaintiff’s claim must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Id. at 1532 (majority opinion).

161Id. at 1534 (Kagan, J., dissenting). Justice Kagan’s dissent provided “a friendly suggestion to the Third Circuit: Rethink your mootness-by-unaccepted-offer theory. And a note to all other courts of appeals: Don’t try this at home.” Id.

162Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 950 (9th Cir. 2013) (“We hold that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy a plaintiff’s claim is insufficient to render the claim moot.”).

163These other circuit courts accepted that an individual’s claim can be mooted, but they argued over their understanding of complete relief and which party should receive the judgment. Compare Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 370–71 (4th Cir. 2012) (allowing Rule 68 offers to moot an individual’s claim and entering judgment for the defendant), and Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991) (same), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015), with O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567, 575–76 (6th Cir. 2009) (allowing Rule 68 offers to moot an individual’s claim but entering judgment for the plaintiff), and Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 949 (8th Cir. 2012).

164Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950, 952 (“We hold that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer that would fully satisfy a plaintiff’s claim is insufficient to render the claim moot.”).

165Id. at 950.

166Id.

167Id.

168Id. at 951. The district court found both injunctive and declaratory relief to be inappropriate forms of relief for the plaintiff. Id.

169Id. at 950.

170Id. at 951.

171Id. at 955.

172See id. at 953–55 (quoting several paragraphs of Justice Kagan’s dissent, then specifying that the Ninth Circuit is “persuaded that Justice Kagan has articulated the correct approach”). Besides Justice Kagan’s dissent, the Ninth Circuit discussed several other circuit court holdings, all of which found that a case could be rendered moot through a Rule 68 offer. Id. at 952–53.

173Id. at 955. However, the Ninth Circuit does allow courts “to halt a lawsuit by entering judgment for the plaintiff when the defendant unconditionally surrenders and only the plaintiff’s obstinacy or madness prevents her from accepting total victory.” Id. (citing Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting)).

174Id. at 954–55. This holding does not answer the larger question of whether an accepted offer of judgment moots a claim. Id. at 953 n.4.

175772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014).

176Id. at 702.

177Id. at 703 (stating that similar to the Ninth Circuit that “has explicitly adopted the position set out in the [Genesis] dissent . . . we agree with the [Genesis] dissent”).

178Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015). In Bais Yaakov, the plaintiff, a private religious high school, filed putative class action claims against the defendant under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for sending it unsolicited facsimiles. Id. at *1. Prior to class certification, the defendant made a Rule 68 offer to the plaintiff, and argued that this offer mooted the plaintiff’s claims. Id. The district court rejected this motion to moot the claims. Id. On interlocutory review, the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling. Id. The First Circuit agreed with the post-Genesis decisions that “a Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim” and noted that nothing in Rule 68 allows rejected offers to moot a plaintiff’s claims. Id. at *5. The court rendered this decision on interlocutory review and it involved a class action, but its dicta strongly favors its application of the Diaz approach in individual claims. Id. at *1, *8. Additionally, the First Circuit also agreed with its district court’s ruling, which has “looked to the reasoning expressed by other courts on this issue, and [was] persuaded by that expressed the Ninth Circuit in Diaz and by Justice Kagan's dissent in Genesis Healthcare.” Yaakov v. ACT, Inc., 987 F. Supp. 2d 124, 128 (D. Mass. 2013) (order amending decision signed on Jan. 22, 2014).

179See supra notes 137–38.

180See supra note 99 and accompanying text.

181Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“We overrule Damasaco, Thorogood, Rand, and similar decisions to the extent they hold a defendant’s offer of full compensation moots the litigation or otherwise ends the Article III case or controversy.”); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015) (“[U]nder the law of our Circuit, an unaccepted Rule 68 offer alone does not render a plaintiff’s individual claims moot before the entry of judgment against the defendants.”).

182To summarize the circuit court approaches, five circuit courts follow the Rand approach: Third, Fourth, Fifth, Tenth, and Federal Circuit; two circuit courts follow the McCauley–O’Brien approach: Sixth and Eighth; and five circuit courts follow the Diaz approach: First, Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh. Additionally, it is worth keeping a watchful eye on the Fifth Circuit because its recent opinion, Hooks v. Landmark Industries, Inc., suggests that the court will adopt the Diaz approach. No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3–4 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“We conclude that the reasoning of the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits is more persuasive and therefore hold that an unaccepted offer of judgment to a named plaintiff in a class action ‘is a legal nullity, with no operative effect.’” (quoting Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (emphasis added))). The First Circuit’s recent opinion likely aligns the Fifth Circuit with the Diaz approach. Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“[W]e agree with the Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits that an unaccepted Rule 68 offer cannot, by itself, moot a plaintiff’s claim.”). Even with these decisions, the court specified that, at this point in time, “[s]ix other circuits have either held, assumed, or expressly avoided deciding that a Rule 68 offer of all relief requested can, at least sometimes, moot an individual claim.” Id. (citing to several cases including the Third Circuit in Weiss, the Fourth Circuit in Warren, the Sixth Circuit in O’Brien, the Eighth Circuit in Hartis, the Tenth Circuit in Lucero, and the Federal Circuit in Samsung, all of which are discussed in Part II.B–C of this Comment).

183135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.); see supra note 6 and accompanying text.

184Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871, 875 (9th Cir. 2014). In Gomez, the plaintiff sued a marketing company that sent unsolicited text messages on behalf of the U.S. Navy. Id. at 873. Although the Ninth Circuit applied the Diaz approach, the court vacated and remanded the decision on other grounds. Id. at 882. Instead of going back to the district court, the Supreme Court has granted certiorari for the October Term 2015. See supra note 6 and accompanying text.

185See Gensler, supra note 2, at 1267.

186Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702 (11th Cir. 2014); see also Bais Yaakov, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (“[A]n unaccepted Rule 68 offer is a red herring: it does not, in itself, provide any relief. And nothing in Rule 68—or any other rule—contemplates use of a rejected offer to secure dismissal of a case. To the contrary, Rule 68 expressly specifies what happens to a rejected offer: it is deemed to be ‘withdrawn,’ and it is ‘not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.’” (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b))).

187See infra notes 188–89 and accompanying text.

188Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b).

189See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note to 1946 amendment (noting that Congress altered Rule 68 “to make clear that evidence of an unaccepted offer is admissible in a proceeding to determine the costs of the action but is not otherwise admissible”).

190Rather than referencing a term of art, judicial negotiation is meant to emphasize the problem of the Rand and McCauley–O’Brien approaches, which cause judges to actively participate in Rule 68 offers.

191The notion of mootness and judicial authority is nowhere to be found in either the language or congressional history of Rule 68. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68; Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note to 2009 amendment; Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 954–55 (9th Cir. 2013) (stating that the Diaz approach “is consistent with the language, structure, and purposes of Rule 68 and with fundamental principles governing mootness”).

192See supra Part II.B–C.

193See supra notes 150–60 and accompanying text. There is even a strong argument that Rule 68 and its advisory committee notes did explicitly reject this mootness argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68; Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 advisory committee’s note (2009).

194Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (emphasis added).

195See supra Part II.B–C (describing case law of the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches, two standards that accept the premise that a Rule 68 offer can moot an individual’s claim).

196Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953–55 (9th Cir. 2013).

197See supra notes 98, 136–37 and accompanying text. In addition, the First and Fifth Circuits have published opinions that likely align their circuits with the Diaz approach. See Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015); Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015).

198Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950.

199As simple as this statement may be, the importance can be lost when courts and litigants are immersed in complicated legal matters. As Justice Kagan suggested in Genesis, reviewing a first-year contract’s book is a benefit for all court officers. See Genesis, 133 S. Ct. at 1533–34 (Kagan, J., dissenting).

200See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 24 (Am. Law Inst. 1981).

201See id. § 38(2) (“A manifestation of intention not to accept an offer is a rejection.”).

202See 1 Richard Lord, Williston on Contracts § 4:3 (4th ed. 1990) (“[C]ases where offer and acceptance are lacking are so rare that for purposes of general discussion they may be disregarded.”).

203See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 36 (Am. Law Inst. 1981) (stating that an offer may be terminated by the offeree’s rejection or lapse of time).

204See id. § 38(1) (“An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his rejection of the offer.”); see also Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *3 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) (“It is hornbook law that rejection of an offer nullifies the offer.”).

205Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting) (quoting Minneapolis & St. Louis Ry. Co. v. Columbus Rolling Mill, 119 U.S. 149, 151 (1886)).

206Recent Case, supra note 158, at 1260.

207Id.

208See supra Part II.B–C.

209Recent Case, supra note 158, at 1267.

210Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 954–55 (9th Cir. 2013).

211Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 709 (11th Cir. 2014).

212Fed. R. Civ. P. 68(b) (“An unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn.”).

213Stein, 772 F.3d at 702.

214See supra notes 44– 45 and accompanying text.

21513 Wright et al., supra note 27, § 3529 (describing the various limits placed on the judicial branch through concepts of justiciability).

216See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))).

217See supra Part II.B–C (describing the Rand approach and McCauleyO’Brien approach, which enters judgment for the defendant or plaintiff, respectively, once a Rule 68 offer moots the claim).

218See infra Part V.

219Jonathan Remy Nash, On the Efficient Deployment of Rules and Standards to Define Federal Jurisdiction, 65 Vand. L. Rev. 509, 560 (2012) (“[This article] has shown, as a normative matter, that rules are preferable to standards along the boundary of federal court jurisdiction.”); see also Scott Dodson & Elizabeth McCuskey, Structuring Jurisdictional Rules and Standards, 65 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 31, 31–32 (2012) (expressing approval for the argument of applying rules to threshold requirements).

220The Rand approach might not suffer from the possibility of lacking jurisdiction to enter judgment for plaintiffs (and some circuit courts following the Rand approach do dismiss the claim for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction). In Rand, the Seventh Circuit would not find for the plaintiff because the plaintiff refused to accept the offer. Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597–98 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015). The Seventh Circuit did not explicitly state that jurisdictional restrictions forced it to hold for the defendant; however, it did state that when a plaintiff refuses the offer, the plaintiff must lose. Id. However, the Seventh Circuit’s recent Chapman case sheds additional light on the possibility of the Rand approach causing this jurisdictional dilemma. See Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy. . . . As soon as the offer was made, the case would have gone up in smoke, and the court would have lost the power to enter the decree.”); see also Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 371–72 (4th Cir. 2012) (“[W]hen a Rule 68 offer unequivocally offers a plaintiff all of the relief ‘she sought to obtain’ the offer renders the plaintiff’s action moot.” (quoting Friedman’s, Inc. v. Dunlap, 290 F.3d 191, 197 (4th Cir. 2002))).

221See supra Part II.C.

222See supra Part II.C.

223McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 342 (2d Cir. 2005).

224Id.

225O’Brien v. Ed Donnelly Enters., Inc., 575 F.3d 567, 575–76 (6th Cir. 2009).

226See Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991) (stating that a plaintiff that refuses to accept complete relief must lose outright), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015).

227Id.

228See id. Entering judgment for the defendant may also violate mootness doctrine. Rather, the case would need to be dismissed. See Chapman, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy.”).

229See supra notes 105–16 and accompanying text.

230Id.

231Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 369, 373 (4th Cir. 2012).

232See Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S. 77, 94 (2010) (“[A]dministrative simplicity is a major virtue in a jurisdictional statute.”); see also Louis Kaplow, Rules Versus Standards: An Economic Analysis, 42 Duke L.J. 557, 621 (1992) (concluding that frequent undesirable behavior is less costly with a rule rather than a standard); Nash, supra note 219, at 522 (“Rules are easier and less costly to apply; they thus conserve judicial and general legal resources.”).

233Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985).

234See Kaplow, supra note 232, at 571 (arguing that, in contrast to a rule, it is more expensive to gain advice under a standard).

235Dan B. Dobbs, Ending Punishment in “Punitive” Damages: Deterrence-Measured Remedies, 40 Ala. L. Rev. 831, 845–46 (1989) (stating that general deterrence is used “not to deter the defendant himself, but to set an example to deter others who are not parties and who may have done nothing wrongful”).

236Leon Bracey, The Importance of Business Reputation, Bus. in Focus, Oct. 2012, at 123, http://www.businessinfocusmagazine.com/2012/10/the-importance-of-business-reputation/.

237Id.; see also Dylan Minor & John Morgan, CSR as Reputation Insurance: Primum Non Nocere, 53 Cal. Mgmt. Rev., Spring 2011, at 40, 40 (“For many firms, the most precious asset lies not on the balance sheet, nor in the human capital of the workforce, but rather in its reputation. For instance, IBM’s reputation for being an enterprise-friendly and efficient solutions provider has enabled it to beat rivals for business over many years. McDonald’s reputation for being a family-friendly and economical place to eat has sustained its market share in the face of fierce competition from other chains. However, reputation can be a fragile thing. Consider British Petroleum (BP) and its recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While BP had for years invested in its sunburst logo and various ‘do good’ and ‘be green’ campaigns, its reputation quickly slipped away in the midst of tragedy: its firm value was decimated by some $100 billion. Another example is Toyota, which became the largest automobile manufacturer through its reputation for reliability and value but has suffered as allegations of faulty accelerators and cover-ups of these problems have come to light. This can be seen vividly in the resale market where even Toyota vehicles unaffected by the recalls declined in value by an estimated 4–5%. Likewise Dell, which became the leading PC manufacturer largely on the basis of quality and low price, has suffered reverses in recent years owing to laptop batteries catching fire and other quality control problems. This has contributed to a cumulative loss of a third of its market value.”); Bruce Rogers, The #1 Asset for Growth in New Markets: Your Reputation, Forbes (Nov. 27, 2012, 10:38 AM), http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesinsights/2012/11/27/the-1-asset-for-growth-in-new-markets-your-reputation (explaining how leveraging a good reputation can greatly increase sales).

238Eric A. Posner, Standards, Rules, and Social Norms, 21 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 101, 116 (1997) (“When reputation matters a lot, people will conform to whatever pattern of behavior they believe that everyone else approves.”); see also Paul Herbig & John Milewicz, The Relationship of Reputation and Credibility to Brand Success, 12 J. Consumer Marketing, 1995, at 5, 10 (“Equity once destroyed is difficult to replenish. Repeated mixed (false) signals will destroy reputation, not just of one product but of all members of the brand family. As reputation goes, profits follow.”); Minor & Morgan, supra note 237, at 43, 55 (explaining how “avoiding harm” compared to “doing good” is a powerful form of reputation insurance for companies); Bert van de Ven & Ronald Jeurissen, Competing Responsibly, 15 Bus. Ethics Q. 299, 309 (2005) (“Company policies, even when they do not affect the quality of products, can cause negative reputational effects among customers, when they perceive the policy as immoral or indecent.”).

239Kaplow, supra note 232, at 605 (stating that individuals prefer risk-averse choices, especially when given to them as legal advice).

240See Posner, supra note 238.

241See supra Part II.E.

242Frederick Schauer, Precedent, 39 Stan. L. Rev. 571, 588 (1987) (explaining how precedent guides current judges to follow decisions in previous similar cases).

243McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 341 (2d Cir. 2005) (stating that the plaintiff “is seeking not just actual damages of $240, but more importantly, the precedential value of a judgment”).

244Kaplow, supra note 232, at 611 (stating that predictability of standards is enhanced through precedent).

245McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341 (stating that the plaintiff wants “the precedential value of a judgment”).

246See Brief of Plaintiff-Appellant at 45, Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyer’s Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948 (9th Cir. 2013) (No. 11-57239), 2012 WL 3781507, at *45 (specifying that the plaintiff’s complaint “requested declaratory relief, and this Court’s cases applying the Declaratory Judgment Act required that Diaz’s claim for declaratory relief be included in the trial”).

247See Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 951 (9th Cir. 2013).

248See Brief of Plaintiff-Appellant, supra note 246, at 45.

249See Diaz, 732 F.3d at 950–51; McCauley, 402 F.3d at 341–42.

250The contract concept of “freedom of choice” lends itself to efficient results. See Richard A. Posner, Economic Analysis of Law 20 (8th ed. 2011) (determining that unlike involuntary transactions, it is “only when resources are shifted pursuant to a voluntary transaction that we can be confident that the shift involves an increase in efficiency”).

251See Kaplow, supra note 232, at 605 (stating that individuals are more risk-averse when rules apply, rather than standards).

252Pierre J. Schlag, Rules and Standards, 33 UCLA L. Rev. 379, 384–89 (1985) (discussing the benefits of using rules versus standards); see also van de Ven & Jeurissen, supra note 238, at 307 (“[A] firm is pressured to break the law when the law is not enforced effectively enough to create a satisfactorily level playing field among the competition.”).

253Both the Rand and McCauleyO’Brien approaches would solve this problem because they moot the claim. See supra Part II.B–C.

254In Stein, the Rule 68 offer for complete relief amounted to $16,500 plus costs. Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 700–01 (11th Cir. 2014). This offer was greater than other Rule 68 offers for complete relief based on this author’s research. See, e.g., Hooks v. Landmark Indus., Inc., No. 14-20496, 2015 WL 4760253, at *1 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2015) ($1,000 plus costs and reasonable attorney fees); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *2 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (awarding $3,002, an injunction, plus costs); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015) (awarding $10,000 plus interest, costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, and any other damages sought for the individual’s claims); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 950 (9th Cir. 2013) (awarding $7,019.32 plus costs); Hartis v. Chi. Title Ins. Co., 694 F.3d 935, 942 (8th Cir. 2012) (awarding $181.20 plus costs); Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 369 (4th Cir. 2012) (awarding $1,251 plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees); McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340 (2d Cir. 2005) (awarding $240 plus costs); Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 597 (7th Cir. 1991) (awarding $1,135 plus costs).

255The Rand approach solves this problem because the court enters judgment for the defendant. See supra Part II.B. The McCauleyO’Brien approach would allow this issue to linger because the court enters judgment for the plaintiff. See supra Part II.C. The McCauleyO’Brien approach may also solve this problem because mooted claims might not be valid judgments. See supra Part II.C.

256See Marek v. Chesny, 473 U.S. 1, 5 (1985) (stating the purpose of Rule 68); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *4 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If there is only one plaintiff, however, why should a court supply a subsidized dispute-resolution service when the defendant’s offer means that there’s no need for judicial assistance, and when other litigants, who do need the court’s aid, are waiting in a queue? Ordering a defendant to do what it is willing to do has no legitimate claim on judicial time. Why should a judge do legal research and write an opinion on what may be a complex issue when the plaintiff can have relief for the asking? Opinions are supposed to be the byproducts of real disputes.”).

257See Doyle v. Midlands Credit Mgmt., Inc., 722 F.3d 78, 80 (2d Cir. 2013) (showing that the plaintiff’s counsel agreed that the defendant’s offer provided all the relief that the plaintiff sought, but still refused the offer and appealed the case, which led to the Second Circuit’s decision).

258See supra notes 243–48 and accompanying text.

259See supra Part II (describing the jurisprudence of Rule 68 and mootness, which also shows the significant litigation that has arisen from this contested idea).

260See supra Part II.

261See supra Part II.

262See supra Part II.

263See Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1536 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting).

264Id.

265See id.

266See id.

267Judges would still have discretion to determine when a plaintiff is acting out of completely irrational madness. Id.

268See Diane M. Saunders, To Be Or Not To Be: Mooting Rule 23 Class Actions Through Rule 68 Offers of Judgment, Ogletree Deakins: Our Insights (Nov. 25, 2014), http://www.ogletreedeakins.com/shared-content/content/blog/2014/november/to-be-or-not-to-be-mooting-rule-23-class-actions-through-rule-68-offers-of-judgment (noting that non-mutual offensive issue preclusion “could present complications for defendants focused only on the case at hand”).

269See generally 18A Wright et al., supra note 27, § 4465.1 (2d ed. 2002) (providing background information on non-mutual preclusion).

270Richard Hynes, Inconsistent Verdicts, Issue Preclusion, and Settlement in the Presence of Judicial Bias, 2 U. Chi. L. Sch. Roundtable 663, 664 (1995) (explaining the basic mechanisms of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion).

271Id. at 663.

272Id. at 664.

273Id. at 663. Issue preclusion has a similar goal to Rule 68: conserving time and resources. See, e.g., Jim Essig, Comment, Preclusion: Procedural Efficiency and the Right to Defend, 27 Houston L. Rev., March 1990, at 327, 336–37.

274See Saunders, supra note 268.

275Cf. McCauley v. Trans Union, L.L.C., 402 F.3d 340, 340–41 (2d Cir. 2005) (involving a plaintiff who wanted a precedent, in addition to the monetary relief, for the defendant’s negligent reporting of his credit score).

276See Hynes, supra note 270, at 663–64.

277A compelling argument can be made that this outcome would save judicial resources in the long run because the agency and other wrongdoers could change their methods quickly to conform to the law.

278See Parklane Hosiery Co., Inc. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 329–31 (1979) (stating that several motivations exist for the avoidance of non-mutual offensive issue preclusion, which do not occur for defensive issue preclusion).

279Id. at 329–31.

280See id. at 330 (supporting the denial of non-mutual offensive collateral estoppel where the defendant did not appeal an adverse judgment of $35,000 in damages and was later sued for over $7 million).

281Ian H. Fisher, Federal Rule 68, A Defendant’s Subtle Weapon: Its Use and Pitfalls, 14 DePaul Bus. L.J. 89, 92 (2001) (“[T]he elements necessary for collateral estoppel do not exist where a plaintiff accepts a Rule 68 offer of judgment.”). While researching for this Comment, no cases were found in which non-mutual offensive issue preclusion was successfully used.

282See supra Part II.B–C.

283See supra Part II.B.

284See supra Part II.C.

285See supra Part III.

286Section A focuses on sections A and C of Part III, while section B corresponds to sections B and D of Part III. Part V follows this order to group the Rand approach and the McCauley–O’Brien approach in a more intelligible manner.

287See supra notes 188–89 and accompanying text.

288See supra Part II.B–C (detailing the case law and application of the Rand and McCauley–O’Brien approaches).

289Id. at 1536 (“Rule 68’s exclusive purpose [is] to promote voluntary cessation of litigation.”).

290See supra Part III.C.

291See supra Part II.B–C.

292By allowing these standards to exist, courts have created varying jurisdictional standards. This initial jurisdiction requirement may even lead to defendant’s attempting to transfer venues, which would cause forum shopping, see Forum Shopping Reconsidered, 103 Harv. L. Rev. 1677, 1684 (1990) (stating that litigants forum shop for the most favorable forum, rather than the simplest or closest one).

293See Amalgamated Ass’n of St., Elec. Ry. & Motor Coach Emps. of Am., Div. 998 v. Wis. Emp’t Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 416, 418 (1951) (“A federal court is without power to decide moot questions . . . which cannot affect the rights of the litigants in the case before it.” (quoting St. Pierre v. United States, 319 U.S. 41, 42 (1943))).

294See supra Part II.C. The Rand approach might also be violating this principle of mootness by entering judgment for the defendant. The court may not have jurisdiction to enter any judgment at all, but must rather dismiss the case. See Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015) (“If an offer to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s demands really moots a case, then it self-destructs. Rule 68 is captioned ‘Offer of Judgment’. But a district court cannot enter judgment in a moot case. All it can do is dismiss for lack of a case or controversy.”).

295See supra Part III.C.

296See supra Part III.C (explaining the jurisdictional issue where courts cannot adjudicate decisions that are moot, and explaining how the Diaz approach overcomes this dilemma).

297See supra Parts II–III.

298See supra Part III.D.

299Rand v. Monsanto Co., 926 F.2d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 1991), overruled by Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015).

300See supra note 254 and accompanying text.

301See supra notes 235–39 and accompanying text.

302See supra Part III.B.

303See Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 36 (Am. Law Inst. 1981) (stating that an offer may be terminated by the offeree’s rejection or lapse of time).

304See supra Part III.B. The Rand approach also arguably ignores this fundamental contract concept, but this Comment does not make this claim. This question exists because the Rand approach does not force acceptance of an offer that has already been rejected, but rather enters judgment for the defendant.

305See supra Part II.C.

306Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S. Ct. 1523, 1533 (2013) (Kagan, J., dissenting).

307Bais Yaakov of Spring Valley v. ACT, Inc., No. 14-1789, 2015 WL 4979406, at *5 (1st Cir. Aug. 21, 2015); Chapman v. First Index, Inc., Nos. 14-2773, 14-2775, 2015 WL 4652878, at *3 (7th Cir. Aug. 6, 2015); Tanasi v. New All. Bank, 786 F.3d 195, 197 (2d Cir. 2015); Stein v. Buccaneers Ltd. P’ship, 772 F.3d 698, 702–03 (11th Cir. 2014); Diaz v. First Am. Home Buyers Prot. Corp., 732 F.3d 948, 953–55 (9th Cir. 2013).

308Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F. 3d 871, 875 (9th Cir. 2014).

309See Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.).

310Gomez, 768 F. 3d at 874–75.

311See supra Part III.A–D (assessing how the Diaz approach (a) satisfies both textualist and purposivist principles, (b) upholds fundamental contract theory concepts, (c) resolves the jurisdictional issue, and (d) deters negative behavior).

312See supra Part III.A.

313See supra Part III.B.

314See supra Part III.C.

315See supra Part III.D.

316See supra notes 174–81 and accompanying text.

317See Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 768 F.3d 871 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 2311 (2015) (mem.); Petition for Writ of Certiorari, supra note 6, at *i (requesting certiorari by the Supreme Court for three questions, including “[w]hether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the plaintiff receives an offer of complete relief on his claim”).

 Notes & Comments Editor, Emory Law Journal; J.D., Emory University School of Law (2016); B.A., University of Maryland, College Park (2012). I am truly grateful to my faculty advisor Professor Jonathan Nash, and the members of the Emory Law Journal Executive Board, particularly Rebecca Hall and Matt Johnson, for their insightful and thorough feedback. As this Comment focused on an active circuit split, it took extra effort to keep it up-to-date. Thank you to my parents Adina and Clive for being incredible role models and for their unconditional love and support. Also, to my grandfather Harold Goodman for encouraging my intellectual curiosity and improving my writing skills. Finally, to my fiancé Matya for her ceaseless motivation and patience as I pondered the benefits of Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.