SEATTLE — Motel 6 has agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the state of Washington that alleged the hotel chain released guest lists to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that led to the detention of at least six people, according to a consent decree released on April 3 by the Civil Rights Division of the Washington Attorney General’s Office (AGO) (Washington v. Motel 6 Operating LP, No. 18-2-00283-4, Wash. Super., King Co.).
SCRANTON, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on March 25 denied a defendant’s motion to suppress the admission of a thumb drive that contains the identifying information of more than 400 people for the purpose of filing federal income tax returns, finding that federal law applies to the charges of insurance fraud and tax fraud against the man and that the warrant that was executed to obtain the drive was not overbroad (United States v. Frank J. Capozzi, No. 16cr347, M.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55075).
NEW YORK — Because a British resident chose to file a now-dismissed complaint against her former employer, which included her address, in U.S. federal court, a New York federal judge on April 3 held that the information was publicly available and, therefore, the subsequent online publication of the complaint by two websites did not violate the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) (Miheala Popa v. Robert E. Moritz, No. 1:18-cv-11300, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58458).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 31 set an oral argument date of June 12 for an Illinois man’s appeal of the dismissal of his lawsuit claiming that Facebook Inc.’s facial recognition technology violates an Illinois biometric privacy law (Frederick William Gullen v. Facebook Inc., No. 18-15785, 9th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Opposing a motion by Facebook Inc. to dismiss a consolidated lawsuit over a 2018 data breach related to the user profile “View As” feature, a group of the social network’s users filed a brief in California federal court on April 4, arguing that they sufficiently alleged injuries that are fairly traceable to the breach, as well as negligence and breach of contractual duties by Facebook (Jasper Schmidt, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:18-cv-05982, N.D. Calif.).
PHILADELPHIA — In an April 2 letter brief, Google LLC tells the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a recent ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide whether a cy pres privacy class action settlement was appropriate has no bearing on the present case due to differences in relief sought and damages claimed (In Re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, No. 17-1480, 3rd Cir.).
ATLANTA — Equifax Inc. and a putative class of consumers each filed briefs in Georgia federal court on April 1, opposing a motion by three Native American tribes to establish a separate track for the tribes in the centralized multidistrict litigation MDL over the 2017 Equifax data breach, arguing that the tribes have not identified any unique claims or discovery means that would necessitate a separate track (In Re: Equifax Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).
CHARLESTON, S.C. — A mother who filed a putative privacy class action against Google LLC and YouTube LLC for purportedly collecting her minor child’s personally identifiable information (PII) without consent, saw her claims dismissed March 31 by a South Carolina federal judge, who found that she did not sufficiently allege “highly offensive” behavior or any resulting harm (Sirdonia Lashay Manigault-Johnson, et al. v. Google LLC, et al., No. 2:18-cv-01032, D. S.C.).
ATLANTA — One day after a Georgia federal judge remanded claims by 100 California plaintiffs from a consolidated class action against Equifax Inc. over its 2017 data breach, a group of banks and financial institutions (FIs) filed a motion on March 20 to amend their claims against the credit-reporting service provider, some of which had been previously dismissed by the judge, to plead damages that they claim to have experienced due to the breach (In Re: Equifax Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, No. 1:17-md-2800, N.D. Ga.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — More than a year after a group of policyholders saw some of their dismissed claims over a 2013 data breach reinstated, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint in New York federal court on March 25 against their insurer, abandoning previously asserted claims for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation (Matthew Fero, et al. v. Excellus Health Plan Inc., et al., No. 6:15-cv-06569, W.D. N.Y.).
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A former employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in files and photographs stored in her personal cloud-based Dropbox account, even though she sometimes used the account for work-related purposes, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled March 19, declining to dismiss a civil rights claim based on an alleged violation of the employee’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Elizabeth Frankhouser v. Clearfield County Career and Technology Center, et al., No. 3:18-cv-00180, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44559).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than three months after a case over a 2012 data breach was first distributed for conference, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 25 declined to consider a question presented by Zappos.com Inc. in which the online retailer sought a uniform standard to determine what constitutes a concrete injury for purposes of standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution in class actions over data breach incidents (Zappos.com Inc. v. Theresa Stevens, et al., No. 18-225, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 2106).
CHICAGO — Border agents’ warrantless search of a traveler’s electronic devices, which revealed the existence of child pornography, was conducted in good faith and with reasonable suspicion, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled March 19, finding no violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and affirming a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress the obtained data (United States v. Donald Wanjiku, No. 18-1973, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 8154).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The University of Connecticut and UCONN Health failed to properly secure patients’ personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI), resulting in a hacker accessing the personal data of more than 326,000 patients, one patient claims in a March 18 class complaint filed in a Connecticut federal court, seeking an injunction and damages (Yoselin Martinez, et al. v. University of Connecticut, et al., No. 19-416, D. Conn.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Google LLC, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. each filed motions in California federal court on March 18 to dismiss a putative class action over the social network’s purported tracking of users’ locations via their smartphone apps (Brendan Lundy, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 4:18-cv-06793, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Arguing that they sufficiently alleged a lack of consent to Facebook Inc.’s practice of scraping data from their phones’ call and text logs, as well as resulting economic injury, a group of Android smartphone users filed a brief in California federal court on March 19 opposing the social network’s motion to dismiss their putative class action alleging privacy and data access violations (Lawrence Olin, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:18-cv-01881, N.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After oral arguments and a round of supplemental briefing, the U.S. Supreme Court on March 20 concluded in a per curiam majority opinion that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the fairness of a cy pres settlement of a privacy class action against Google LLC, remanding the case for a determination of whether the plaintiffs sufficiently established standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (Theodore H. Frank, et al. v. Paloma Gaos, et al., No. 17-961, U.S. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Telling a California federal court that the remaining plaintiffs in a consolidated class action over a 2018 hacking of its profile “View As” feature failed to plead to any harm, Facebook Inc. on March 14 filed a motion to dismiss the complaint (Jasper Schmidt, et al. v. Facebook Inc., No. 3:18-cv-05982, N.D. Calif.).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania federal judge on Feb. 26 granted preliminary approval of a $50 million settlement to be paid by a fast food chain to end financial institutions’ class claims against its franchisees in connection with a data breach first reported in 2016 (First Choice Federal Credit Union, et al. v. The Wendy’s Company, et al., No. 16-506, W.D. Pa.).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on March 11 approved a stipulation settling a long-running putative class action between online data aggregator Spokeo Inc. and a man that sued it for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), with the website operator agreeing to post disclaimers about the accuracy of information on its site and how such information may be used (Thomas Robins v. Spokeo Inc., No. 2:10-cv-05306, C.D. Calif.).