DENVER - The Colorado Supreme Court on April 15 vacated a ruling requiring a defendant in a misappropriation of trade secrets case to turn over his personal computers, smart phones and three years' worth of phone records, after finding that the trial court failed to properly address privacy concerns before granting the plaintiff company's motion to compel (In re: Plaintiffs Gateway Logistics Inc., et al. v. Christopher Patrick Smay, et al., No. 12SA287, Colo. Sup.; 2013 Colo. LEXIS 288).
WASHINGTON, Pa. - A confidential settlement agreement between a Washington County, Pa., family and natural gas extraction companies was unsealed by a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas for Washington County judge March 20 on the grounds that businesses do not have a constitutional right of privacy that overcomes the common-law presumption of access to government documents (Stephanie Hallowich, et vir v. Range Resources Corp., et al., No. 10-3954, Pa. Comm. Pls., Washington Co.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A California federal judge on March 6 dismissed for lack of standing a class complaint accusing an online networking site of various privacy violations after a hacker allegedly accessed and posted users' email addresses and passwords; the judge gave the plaintiffs 30 days to file an amended complaint (In Re LinkedIn User Privacy Litigation, No. 12-3088, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31131).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman adequately supports California unfair competition law (UCL) claims alleging that a company overstated the speed and privacy benefits of its software, a federal judge held March 7 (Rose-Mai Robichaud, et al. v. Speedy PC Software, No. 12-4730, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31039).
LOS ANGELES - A California man's class complaint accusing a business-mailing solutions company of privacy violations was dismissed March 5 by a California federal judge who determined that the complaint was untimely (Nicholas Anagnostellis, et al. v. Pitney Bowes Inc., et al., No. 12-239, C.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 6 sustained dismissal of a Wisconsin woman's misappropriation and privacy complaint against Google Inc. based on the search engine operator's purported use of her name in search suggestions, results and sponsored ads, finding her claims precluded under exceptions for public interest and incidental use (Beverly Stayart v. Google Inc., No. 11-3012, 7th Cir.).
SAN DIEGO - A federal judge in California on Feb. 26 dismissed a putative class action alleging that FIA Card Services, National Association (FIA) invaded consumers' privacy by recording phone conversations, ruling that the consumers' credit card agreements constitute both a disclosure that calls may be recorded that "removes any reasonable expectation of privacy" and the consumers' consent to recording (Gloria White v. FIA Card Services, National Association, et al., No. 12-2034, S.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27053).
SAN FRANCISCO - In a deeply divided ruling, a California Supreme Court majority on Feb. 4 held that the state's credit card privacy laws do not prohibit online retailers from requiring customers to provide certain information, such as phone numbers, when making credit card payments (Apple Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al., No. S199384, Calif. Sup.; 2013 Cal. LEXIS 778).
MINNEAPOLIS - Two Minnesota men filed a class complaint Jan. 25 accusing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and an unnamed individual of violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) when a former employee viewed private motor vehicle records without authorization (Thomas Whigham, et al. v. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, et al., No. 13-208, D. Minn.).
JACKSON, Miss. - A Mississippi federal judge on Jan. 22 found that an education errors and omissions insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify an insured's former teacher and coach against underlying invasion of privacy and battery claims by former students (Tudor Insurance Company v. Manchester Educational Foundation Inc., et al., No. 3:10-CV-493-KS-MTP, S.D. Miss.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 845).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California man failed to present his invasion of privacy class suit against a security system provider in a sufficient manner in which to survive a summary judgment motion; however, he should be given a chance to amend his complaint, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 17, remanding the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (John Faulkner, et al. v. ADT Security Services, Inc., et al., No. 11-16233, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1108).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Noting a belated effort by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to comply with scheduling orders requiring the timely production of certain documents pursuant to a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request from a public interest group, a District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 8 set up new deadlines and production goals, ordering full compliance with the request by April 15 (Electronic Privacy Information Center v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, No. 1:12-cv-00333, D. D.C.).
DENVER - Even though an Internet service provider (ISP) permitted a third party to track its customers' Internet browsing habits, it did not intercept any of the customers' electronic communications and did not act outside "the ordinary course of its core business as an ISP," a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 28, finding no violation of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) (Kathleen Kirch, et al. v. Embarq Management Co., et al., No. 11-3275, 10th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 26607).
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Nov. 21 partially granted a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing an Internet service provider of violating privacy rights by recording phone calls without consent (Monica Garcia, et al. v. Earthlink, Inc., No. 12-1129, S.D. Calif.).
PORTLAND, Ore. - A woman's $1 billion privacy violation complaint against Google Inc. and MyLife.com Inc., based on their alleged online publication of the names, ages and addresses of her and her family members, was dismissed Oct. 12 by an Oregon federal judge, who found that the plaintiff failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction (Shantu N. Shah v. MyLife.com Inc., et al., No. 3:12-cv-01592, D. Ore.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147317).
PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine federal judge on Sept. 28 ordered the State of Maine to pay attorney fees to plaintiffs who won a challenge to stop the state from implementing the state's prescription privacy law (IMS Health Corp., et al. v. G. Steven Rowe, attorney general of the state of Maine, No. 07-127, D. Maine; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140180).
BOSTON - Citing "the prospect of pervasive and prolonged surveillance of innocent Americans' movements" and "a serious threat to Americans' privacy," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Sept. 25 filed a complaint for injunctive relief in Massachusetts federal court, seeking to compel two government agencies to release records on their use of automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) (American Civil Liberties Union, et al. v. United States Department of Justice, et al., No. 1:12-cv-11776, D. Mass.). Subscribers may view the complaint available within the full article.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A federal judge in West Virginia on Sept. 25 compelled arbitration in a suit in which a consumer alleged that a bank's attempts to collect her credit card debt were illegal, outrageous and an invasion of her privacy, ruling that it is up to an arbitrator, and not the court, to decide whether the arbitration clause in her credit card agreement is unconscionable (Mildred Thornton v. First National Bank Credit Card, et al., No. 12-00492, S.D. W.Va.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136049).
ST. LOUIS - An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals majority on Sept. 17 affirmed a lower court decision and concluded that under Minnesota law, oral or written publication of material that violates a person's right of privacy covers a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) 47 U.S.C.S. § 227, claim regarding the sending of unsolicited fax advertisements (Owners Insurance Company, et al. v. European Auto Works, Inc., doing business as Autopia, et al., 11-3068, 8th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19458).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge awarded summary judgment to the U.S. government in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C.S. § 552,suit after finding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) properly withheld documents concerning its investigation into the development and use of whole body imaging (WBI) technology at surface transportation stations but found that the electronic privacy group that brought the suit was entitled to an award of attorney fees (Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States of America, No. 11-945, D. D.C.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131522).
PEORIA, Ill. - Noting that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) 18 U.S.C.S. § 2511, "is not focused on whether a person possesses a copy of a message, but on whether the person intercepts communications to which he is not a party," an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 13 held that a plaintiff's co-workers intercepted his emails by setting up a dummy email account that allowed them to access his Web-based communications even though the messages were not specifically downloaded to a computer (Shefts v. John Petrakis, et al., No. 1:10-cv-01104, C.D. Ill.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130542).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman's claim that her employer misclassified her as exempt from overtime laws does not invoke insurance covering invasion of privacy or misrepresentation, a California federal judge held Sept. 13 (David A. Gauntlett v. Illinois Union Insurance Co., No. 11-455, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131086).
NEW YORK - Employee privacy concerns outweigh public interest when it comes to not only the names of federal employees but also their duty station information, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 5, reversing a trial court's ruling in part (Susan B. Long, et al. v. Office of Personnel Management, Nos. 10-1600 and 10-1618, 2nd Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18664).
BOSTON - In a copyright case that presents issues "of particular importance," a Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 22 green-lighted early, expedited discovery but ordered a plaintiff to propose a protective order that will shield the privacy of third parties who are not yet defendants in the lawsuit (Patrick Collins Inc. v. John Does 1-79, No. 12-10532, D. Mass.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118506).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Aug. 17 denied a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement that is allegedly valued at $123.5 million but provides no monetary relief directly to class members, in a class suit accusing Facebook Inc. of using the names and photos of users in advertising on the social network without the users' express permission (Angel Fraley, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 11-1726, N.D. Calif.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116526).