In Marden Moot Court Competition’s final argument, students tackle case involving personal data of dating app users

On March 27, the 2017-18 Orison S. Marden Moot Court Competition, a yearlong internal contest organized by NYU Law’s Moot Court Board, culminated in a final argument before a panel of three real-life jurists: Judge Jane Kelly of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Judge John Owens of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court.

The moot problem, Leslie Mendel v. T&B, Inc., was prepared by John Custer ’19 and Madhuri Swarma ’19 and edited by Zak Newman ’18. The case pitted elected official Leslie Mendel against T&B, the maker of a popular dating app that suffered a data breach exposing user data, including financial information. For customers whose data was compromised, the company offered the use of a credit monitoring service at a discounted rate. Mendel sued T&B for damages related to negligent handling of user data as well as for the company’s alleged violation of the terms of the credit monitoring agreement. T&B’s motion to dismiss argued that Mendel lacked standing to pursue negligence claims and that the forum selection clause in the credit monitoring agreement meant that federal rather than state law should govern the clause’s interpretation.

The four Marden finalists appearing before the panel included Christopher Bettwy ’19, Laureen Bousmail ’19, Alexander Levin ’19, and Matthew Tieman ’18. Bettwy and Bousmail advocated on behalf of Mendel, while Levin and Tieman represented T&B.

After a lively argument, the judges conferred and pronounced Bousmail the best oral advocate. Separately, Bettwy was named best brief writer.

Posted April 5, 2018