SAN FRANCISCO - Social network provider Twitter Inc. was hit with a putative class action Sept. 14, when a Texas man filed a complaint in California federal court, alleging violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the California Invasion of Privacy Act (***) by Twitter's purported intercepting, reading and sometimes altering private messages between Twitter users (Wilford Raney v. Twitter Inc., No. 3:15-cv-04191, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 15 affirmed a lower federal court's ruling that insurers have no duty to defend against three underlying putative class actions alleging that its retailer insured violated state statutes and common-law privacy rights when gathering customers' personal ZIP code information while processing credit card transactions (OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Urban Outfitters Inc. and Anthropologie Inc. v. The Hanover Insurance Group, No. 14-2976, 3rd Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 16399).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 4 affirmed dismissal of a New York man's putative class action alleging that Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC violated the Video Protection Privacy Act (VPPA) by unlawfully retaining and disclosing his personally identifiable information (PII), holding that the act does not provide for a private right of action for unlawful disclosure (Daniel Rodriguez v. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, et al., No. 12-17391, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 15782).
SAN FRANCISCO - A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 11 denied Yahoo Inc's petition for permission to appeal a trial court's grant of class certification in a lawsuit alleging violation of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) by Yahoo's scanning of the emails of people who are not subscribers of its Yahoo Mail service (Cody Baker v. Yahoo! Inc., No. 15-80101, 9th Cir.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. - A California federal judge on July 29 partly denied a university's motion to dismiss wiretap and privacy class claims against it related to campus police officers' assertions that their conversations were covertly recorded (Federated University Police Officers' Association, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al., No. 8:15-cv-00137, C.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99147).
DETROIT - A Michigan federal judge on July 27 granted certification to a class of magazine subscribers who allege that when they signed up for their subscriptions, their personal information was shared with two marketing companies in violation of Michigan state law (Rose Coulter-Owens, et al. v. Time, Inc., No. 12-14390, E.D. Mich.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97352).
OAKLAND, Calif. - The plaintiffs in a putative class action alleging privacy violations by Facebook Inc.'s purported scanning of users' private messages are not permitted to compel materials from the social network's Irish affiliate, a California federal magistrate ruled July 21, finding that considerations of international comity weighed against such discovery (Matthew Campbell, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 4:13-cv-05996, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95702).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Citing the presumption against subpoenaing high-ranking government officials and the plaintiffs' failure to establish that they cannot obtain the information sought from other sources, a District of Columbia federal judge on July 16 granted the government's motion to quash a subpoena seeking testimony from the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a lawsuit alleging privacy violations by the government's retention, search and use of the plaintiffs' emails (Gilberte Jill Kelley, et al. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., No. 1:13-cv-00825, D. D.C.).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Finding that individual notification to more than 1 million students and their parents would be impractical in a lawsuit over education rights for disabled students, a California federal judge on July 2 ruled that the California Department of Education (CDOE) can notify parents of the release of student records in response to discovery requests via publication without violating the privacy protections of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association, et al. v. California Department of Education, et al., No. 2:11-cv-03471, E.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86909).
BALTIMORE - A subpoena served on the Internet service provider (ISP) of a Doe defendant in a file-sharing suit does not violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), a Maryland federal judge ruled June 30, finding that the act specifically allows disclosure of subscriber identification information for the purpose of serving process on an alleged infringer in a copyright infringement lawsuit (Malibu Media LLC v. John Doe subscriber assigned to IP Address 18.104.22.168, No. 1:15-cv-01048, D. Md.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85355).
SAN FRANCISCO - An employer did not unlawfully interfere with a pension plan participant's right to early retirement benefits in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by terminating her employment because she was terminated for violating the employer's privacy policies, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed July 1 in an unpublished opinion (Rosemarie Cole v. The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., et al., No. 13-15952, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11346).
NEW YORK - Materials and communications related to the plaintiff's counsel's investigation in a privacy class action do not qualify for attorney-client privilege, a New York federal magistrate ruled June 26, allowing the defendant to conduct a limited deposition of the attorney (Betsy Feist v. Paxfire Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-05436, S.D. N.Y.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In conjunction with a recently filed motion seeking approval of their settlement of claims against Adobe Systems Inc. related to a 2013 data breach, the lead plaintiffs in a putative class action on June 24 filed a motion for attorney fees in California federal court in light of the pending settlement that they assert confers "a significant benefit" on millions of Adobe product users nationwide (In re Adobe Systems Inc. Privacy Litigation, No. 5:13:cv-05226, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO - A Chicago man on June 17 filed a complaint against photo-sharing website operator Shutterfly Inc., alleging violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by collecting biometric identifying information via facial recognition technology without obtaining the consent of nonusers of its website (Brian Norberg v. Shutterfly Inc., et al., No. 1:15-cv-05351, N.D. Ill.).
PASADENA, Calif. - Although a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel affirmed dismissal of a political activist's federal claim related to a district attorney's online postings about her, the panel on June 15 held that the federal amount in jurisdiction threshold had been sufficiently alleged, reversing dismissal of her related state law defamation and invasion of privacy claims (Nadia Naffe v. John Patrick Frey, et al., No. 13-55666, 9th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 10027).
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Finding that certain user contact information and ad-click data is necessary to decide certification of a privacy class action against Facebook Inc., a California federal judge on June 11 ordered the social network to submit a sampling of such information from 5,000 users, granting in part a named plaintiff's motion to compel (In Re: Facebook Privacy Litigation, No. 5:10-cv-02389, N.D. Calif.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75962).