SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Sept. 5 signed an order and stipulation dismissing with prejudice the remaining unfair competition and false advertising claims against Apple Inc. in a class action alleging privacy violations associated with applications on iPhones and other Apple devices (Marc Opperman, et al. v. Kong Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:13-CV-00453, N.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The second attempt to settle a putative class action between Google Inc. and a class of non-Gmail users achieved preliminary approval on Aug. 31, with a California federal judge deeming the proposed settlement of privacy claims related to Google's scanning of non-Gmail users' emails to be "fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable" (Daniel Matera, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-04062, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - A policyholder of Aetna Inc. filed a class complaint against the insurer in Pennsylvania federal court Aug. 28, alleging that in settling two previous lawsuits over purported privacy violations of its insureds that take HIV medications, the insurer again violated their privacy with an indiscreet mailing (Andrew Beckett v. Aetna Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cv-03864, E.D. Pa.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Two months after a California federal judge dismissed with prejudice most of the privacy-related claims in a putative class action accusing Facebook Inc. of tracking users' internet activity without their consent, the lead plaintiffs on Aug. 25 filed a third amended consolidated complaint restating two contractual claims alleging that the social network violated its assurances that it would not engage in such tracking (In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, No. 5:12-md-02314, N.D. Calif.).
PASADENA, Calif. - Determining that a claim brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) "is inherently an invasion of privacy claim," a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Aug. 23 affirmed a trial court's finding that the Los Angeles Lakers were not entitled to coverage for an underlying TCPA suit because the team's insurance policy contained an exclusion for invasion of privacy suits (Los Angeles Lakers Inc. v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-55777, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 16109).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel majority on Aug. 22 affirmed a trial court's approval of an $8.5 million cy pres settlement of a class action alleging privacy violations in Google Inc.'s forwarding of users' web browser referrer header information to third parties, deeming it appropriate in light of the large size of the class (In Re Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation, No. 15-15858, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15955).
ERIE, Pa. - In an Aug. 18 brief, a Wyoming couple argue that their Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) claims against a retailer that installed spyware on their computer merit class treatment, objecting to a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge's recommendation that class certification be denied "on grounds that individualized issues predominate over common issues to the putative class" (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron's Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
OAKLAND, Calif. - Four months after preliminarily approving settlement of a class action that accused Facebook Inc. of privacy violations related to its scanning of users' private messages (PMs) for advertisement purposes, a California federal judge on Aug. 18 granted the plaintiffs' motion for final judgment, deeming proposed incentive and attorney fee awards to be reasonable (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132624).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Citing concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, a web-hosting firm on Aug. 11 told a District of Columbia court that a U.S. Department of Justice search warrant seeking identifying information for visitors to an anti-Donald Trump website is overbroad and in violation of federal privacy law (In re: the Search of www.disruptj20.org that Is Stored at Premises Owned, Maintained, Controlled,, or Operated by DreamHost, No. 17 CSW 3438, D.C. Super.).
SAN FRANCISCO - Several days after filing a complaint accusing The Walt Disney Co. and its partners of violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a California woman on Aug. 7 filed a second nearly identical class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California accusing Viacom Inc. and its partners of capturing and selling children's personally identifying information (Amanda Rushing, et al. v. Viacom Inc., et al., No. 17-4492, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The Walt Disney Co. and its partners violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by capturing children's personally identifying information while they are playing Disney's online games via smart phone apps and then selling that information to third parties, a California woman and her minor child allege in an Aug. 3 class complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Amanda Rushing, et al. v. The Walt Disney Company, et al., No. 17-4419, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The day after the FBI and a privacy rights organization filed a stipulation of dismissal, a District of Columbia federal judge on Aug. 1 adopted the stipulation and dismissed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit centering on a document request related to the FBI's biometric identification program (Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, No. 1:16-cv-02237, D. D.C.).
SAN FRANCISCO - The plaintiffs in a putative class action over the sharing of contact information on devices made by Apple Inc. saw their class certification motion denied July 25, with a California federal judge finding that the plaintiffs failed to establish the necessary predominance factors in their false advertising and unfair competition claims against Apple (Marc Opperman, et al. v. Kong Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:13-CV-00453, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116333).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A previously dismissed Wiretap Act putative class claim against Vizio Inc. survived a second dismissal motion July 25, with a California federal judge finding that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged interception of communications via Vizio's purported use of surreptitious software that tracked TV owners' viewing habits (In Re: Vizio, Inc., Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 8:16-ml-02693, C.D. Calif.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Four months after a prior proposed settlement with Google Inc. was rejected by a California federal judge, the lead plaintiffs in a putative class action alleging privacy violations in the scanning and processing of emails of non-Gmail users on July 21 submitted a revised proposed settlement that they say "requires Google to make significant business practice changes that will benefit" class members while retaining their ability to pursue monetary claims under the asserted statutes (Daniel Matera, et al. v. Google Inc., No. 5:15-cv-04062, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A department store did not meet its burden to show that the contact information of employees is not subject to discovery in a wage-and-hour representative suit, the California Supreme Court held July 13, rejecting arguments of overbreadth and privacy violations and vacating the rulings of an appeals court and a trial court (Michael Williams v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County and Marshalls of CA LLC, No. S227228, Calif. Sup., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 5124).
PHILADELPHIA - In a July 5 amicus curiae brief in the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a group of 11 state attorneys general (AGs) support reversal of a trial court's approval of a $5.5 million cy pres settlement of a privacy class action over cookie placement on users' computers by Google Inc., echoing a lone objector's position that controlling case law favors settlements benefiting class members over cy pres recipients (In Re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 17-1480, 3rd Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO - After five years of litigation, a California federal judge on July 6 granted preliminary approval to a $5.3 million settlement between a class of Apple Inc. device users and the developers of apps that allegedly accessed users' private address books without permission (Marc Opperman, et al. v. Kong Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:13-CV-00453, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104507).
SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook Inc. on June 19 moved to renew a motion to stay discovery in a putative class action alleging that the social network violated Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which it originally filed in California federal court in February, arguing that a pending Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling could be dispositive of disputed jurisdictional questions and could moot the plaintiffs' discovery requests (In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, No. 3:15-cv-03747, N.D. Calif.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California appeals panel on June 9 affirmed a trial court's ruling that a patient, who alleged that a health care provider violated her privacy when it submitted her private health records as exhibits to a complaint in a debt collection action, did not err when it refused to award her fees because she could not show a probability of prevailing on her claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other causes of action (Kathleen Leonard v. Retailer's Credit Association of Grass Valley, Inc., No. C079880, Calif. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3949).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In its May 22 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a newspaper's petition for certiorari over privacy rights connected to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for booking photos, letting stand a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that found an FOIA exemption protecting certain "embarrassing" facts from disclosure (Detroit Free Press Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice, No. 16-706, U.S. Sup., 2017 U.S. LEXIS 3246).