Mealey's IP/Tech - Louisiana Panel Finds No Privacy Expectation In Internet Customer Information

BATON ROUGE, La. - Because customers voluntarily disclose their subscriber information to Internet service providers (ISPs), a man convicted of possessing child pornography had no expectation of privacy in his subscriber information, a Louisiana appeals panel found Jan. 4, affirming a trial court's decision not to suppress the information supplied by his ISP (State of Louisiana v. Arthur Leon LeBlanc Jr., No. 2013 KA 0202, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2014 La. App. LEXIS 235).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 7th Circuit Upholds Trans Union Settlement Allowing Reimbursements

CHICAGO - The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 23 upheld unusual privacy settlement terms that allow the settling company to reimburse itself for "post-settlement claims" from the $75 million settlement fund (In re: Trans Union Corp. Privacy Litigation, No. 13-1613, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1337).

7th Circuit: Debtor's Privacy Not Violated By Public Announcement Of Bankruptcy

CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 reversed and remanded a district court ruling, concluding that the governor of Wisconsin and his then-spokesman had qualified immunity when they disclosed that the reason the governor rescinded a job offer to a prospective candidate was because she had filed for bankruptcy (Becky S. Chasensky v. Scott Walker, No. 13-1761, 7th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 1160).

Magistrate Judge: Privacy Interest Outweighs Plaintiff's Need For Personnel Files

SAN DIEGO - A wrongful termination plaintiff's request for the personnel files of nine people who provided witness statements during a sexual harassment investigation was denied Jan. 17 by a federal magistrate judge in California, who ruled that the individuals' right to privacy outweighed the plaintiff's need for the information (Dan Grobee v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 13cv1060-GPC, S.D. Calif.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6479).

Court: Consumer Must Seek Disclosure For Injury Under 'Shine The Light' Law

LOS ANGELES - Under California's "shine the light" (STL) privacy law, consumers must actually try to request the required disclosures before an injury exists; a company's failure to provide contact information alone does not suffice, a state appeals court held Dec. 19 in affirming dismissal of California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (David Boorstein v. CBS Interactive Inc., No. B247472, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).

Judge: Plaintiffs Have Constitutional Standing To Challenge NSA Data Collection

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Stating that the U.S. government's "bulk telephony and metadata collection and analysis almost certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy," a District of Columbia federal judge on Dec. 16 found that two plaintiffs would likely succeed in their Fourth Amendment challenge to this practice, leading the judge to grant in part their motion for a preliminary injunction (Larry Klayman, et al. v. Barrack Hussein Obama, et al., No. 1:13-cv-00851 and 1:13-cv-00881, D. D.C.).

Magistrate: No Injury From Information Use, But Bandwidth Use Satisfies Standard

SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc.'s use of personally identifiable information (PII) does not provide Article III standing, but apps purchased through its store that utilized battery power and bandwidth sending that information do, a federal magistrate judge held Dec. 3 in also dismissing California unfair competition law (UCL) claims (In re Google Inc. privacy policy litigation, No. 12-1382, N.D. Calif.).

Judge Dismisses Privacy, Unfair Competition Class Action Over IPhone Apps

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The named plaintiffs in a putative class action against Apple Inc. failed to establish their standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution or two California statutes, a California federal judge found Nov. 25, disposing of their claims related to Apple's purported collection of users' personal data via applications (apps) for its iPhones and other "iDevices" (In Re iPhone Application Litigation, No. 5:11-md-02250, N.D. Calif.).

Supreme Court Denies Mandamus Over Surveillance Court's Collection Of Verizon Data

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Nov. 18 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus in which the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sought a ruling that the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court (FISC) exceeded its authority by ordering Verizon Business Network Services to submit call detail records to it (In Re Electronic Privacy Information Center, No. 13-58, U.S. Sup.).

Michigan Federal Judge Denies Redbox's Request To Dismiss Customers' Privacy Suit

DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on Nov. 12 denied a motion by Redbox Automated Retail LLC, a video rental company, to toss a class complaint filed by customers who allege that their personal information was improperly shared with third parties (Michelle Cain, et al. v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, No. 12-15014, E.D. Mich.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160782).

Judge: Child Porn Defendants Had No Privacy Expectation In Shared Computer Folder

RUTLAND, Vt. - Three child pornography defendants had no expectation of privacy in folders on their respective computers that were dedicated to file sharing via Internet peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, a Vermont federal judge ruled Nov. 8, denying their motions to suppress evidence derived from subsequent searches of their computers by law enforcement personnel (United States of America v. Derek Thomas, et al., No. 5:12-cv-00037, D. Vt.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159914).

Illinois Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Class Privacy Suit Against Employer

CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on Nov. 8 denied a motion to dismiss a class complaint accusing a motel chain of privacy violations related to its installation of a monitoring and recording system on its phone system (Robert C. Burrow, et al. v. Sybaris Clubs International, Inc., et al., No. 13-2342, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159817).

High Court Declines To Hear Appeal Over Facebook Beacon Privacy Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its Nov. 4 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in a petition regarding the settlement of a privacy class action over Facebook Inc.'s short-lived "Beacon" program, with Chief Justice John Roberts noting that although there are "fundamental concerns" regarding the growing trend of cy pres remedies in class actions, the issues presented in the current case are too narrowly focused to provide an opportunity for the high court to address those issues (Megan Marek v. Sean Lane, et al., No. 13-136, U.S. Sup.).

Judge: Presidential Directive Not An Agency Record, Not Subject To FOIA Request

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A privacy public interest organization saw its claims related to certain government documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) mostly dismissed Oct. 21 by a District of Columbia federal judge who determined that a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) was not an "agency record" and, as such, not subject to public disclosure under the act (Electronic Privacy Information Center v. National Security Agency, No. 1:10-cv-00196, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150741).

Delaware Federal Judge Dismisses Privacy MDL Over Google's Cookie Placement

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal judge on Oct. 9 granted three dismissal motions by defendants in a multidistrict consolidated privacy litigation accusing Google and other companies of "tricking" users' Internet browsers into accepting "cookies," which allowed the defendants to then display targeted advertising (In Re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 12-2358, D. Del.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145727).

High Court Declines To Hear Case Over Google Sponsored Ads, Searches

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an order list issued Oct. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari to a Wisconsin woman who claimed misappropriation and privacy violations by Google Inc.'s use of her name in search suggestions, results and sponsored ads (Beverly Stayart v. Google Inc., No. 12-1417, U.S. Sup.).

Drivers' Privacy Claims Against Minnesota Officials Tossed By Federal Judge

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Minnesota federal judge on Sept. 20 dismissed class claims accusing state officials of being liable for violations of the Drivers' Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and drivers' constitutional right to privacy after a former Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employee viewed private data from motor vehicle records without proper authorization (Jennifer Kiminski, et al. v. John Hunt, et al., No. 13-185, D. Minn.).

Judge Denies Government's Request For Summary Judgment In FOIA Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Sept. 18 denied the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) motion for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit, ruling that the agency was unable to show that the Freedom of Information and Privacy Brief Bank (Brief Bank) and its components are protected work product (Ryan Shapiro, et al. v. U.S. Department of Justice, No. 12-1883, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133181).

Model's Privacy Claim Against Website Dismissed Under Newsworthiness Exception

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A New York federal judge on Sept. 16 dismissed a model's right-to-privacy claim against a website that published her lingerie photos without her permission, finding that the publication fell under a newsworthiness exception within New York privacy statutes (Shana Edme v. Internet Brands Inc., et al., No. 2:12-cv-03306, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132008).

Garlock Bankruptcy Judge Denies News Site's Bid To Open Estimation Proceeding

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The "significant" privacy rights of asbestos claimants and their attorneys outweigh the public's interest in certain evidence deemed confidential in the asbestos liability estimation trial for Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC, a North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge ruled July 31 in denying a bid by a news organization to open the entire estimation proceeding to the public (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).

9th Circuit Finds ISP's Arbitration Clause Valid In Privacy Class Action

SEATTLE - In what it said was "not an easy case," a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 15 held that an arbitration clause and an accompanying choice-of-law provision within a subscriber agreement, which was provided by an Internet service provider (ISP) to its customers, was enforceable in the state of Montana and required application of New York law (Dale Mortensen, et al. v. Bresnan Communications LLC, No. 11-35823, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14211).

Fla. Federal Judge Dismisses Patient Privacy Suit For Lack Of Jurisdiction

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 3 dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a class complaint accusing a hospital of failing to protect patient records (Richard Faircloth, et al. v. Adventist Health System/Sunbelt, Inc. d/b/a Florida Hospital, et al., No. 13-572, M.D. Fla.).

Judge Denies Accused File-Sharers' Quash Motion But Grants Motion To Sever

CHICAGO - An Illinois federal judge on June 6 denied motions to quash by three Doe defendants accused of illegal online file sharing, finding that their concerns over privacy and unfair settlement tactics were insufficient to quash discovery motions filed by an adult entertainment firm on their respective Internet service providers (ISPs) (Malibu Media, LLC vs. John Does 1-21, No. 1:12-cv-09656, N.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79433).

Colorado High Court Orders Lower Court To Address Privacy In Discovery Ruling

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).

Fracking Suit Settlement Unsealed In Pennsylvania; Access To Court Records Upheld

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.).