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Mealey's Data Privacy

  • July 13, 2018

    Judge Denies Approval Of ‘Deficient’ Settlement In Hotel Data Breach Class Action

    SAN FRANCISCO — A proposed $600,000 settlement of a putative class action over a hotel chain’s 2016 data breach was denied preliminary approval July 12 by a California federal judge, who enumerated “glaring issues” related to explanations of class member payments and class notice procedures (Andrew Parsons v. Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, No. 3:16-cv-05387, N.D. Calif.).

  • July 12, 2018

    Google Privacy Class Objectors Tell High Court Cy Pres-Only Settlement Is Unfair

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two objectors to the $8.5 million settlement of a privacy class action against Google LLC, tell the U.S. Supreme Court in a July 9 merits brief that the distribution of settlement funds to cy pres recipients, rather than class members, does not constitute a “fair, reasonable, and adequate” settlement of the class claims per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (Theodore H. Frank, et al. v. Paloma Gaos, et al., No. 17-961, U.S. Sup.).

  • July 11, 2018

    NSA, Wikimedia Debate State Secrets Privilege, In Camera Review

    BALTIMORE — In supplemental briefs filed July 6 in Maryland federal court, Wikimedia Foundation and the U.S. government debate whether an in camera review provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) displaces the state secrets privilege regarding documents withheld from discovery by the government in a lawsuit over communications intercepted by the National Security Agency (NSA) as part of its upstream surveillance program (Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00662, D. Md.).

  • July 10, 2018

    Judge Finds Jurisdiction Lacking In DNC Email Hacking Suit, Denies Discovery

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A District of Columbia federal judge on July 3 granted a motion by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to dismiss a lawsuit over the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC’s) database, finding that the plaintiffs, whose emails were made public in the incident, failed to establish jurisdiction (Roy Cockrum, et al. v. Donald J. Trump For President Inc., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01370, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110948).

  • July 10, 2018

    Injunctive Relief Denied, Early Discovery Granted In Tutoring Firms’ Dispute

    SAN FRANCISCO — An academic preparation company saw its motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to search the computers and email accounts of three ex-employees denied July 6, with a California federal judge, instead, granting the plaintiff’s request for early discovery to determine the extent of the defendants’ accused misappropriation of proprietary materials (C2 Educational Systems Inc. v. Sunny Lee, et al., No. 3:18-cv-02920, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112882).

  • July 10, 2018

    2nd Circuit Affirms $5.8M Judgment In Insured’s Favor In Computer Fraud Dispute

    NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 6 affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that a firm's multimillion dollar loss due to a fraudulent wire transfer scheme constituted computer fraud under the company's executive protection insurance policy (Medidata Solutions Inc v. Federal Insurance Company, No. 17-2492, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18376).

  • July 10, 2018

    Employer To High Court: Federal Arbitration Act Preempts State Law

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals defied the U.S. Supreme Court’s clear holding when it ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) doesn’t preempt state law and the lack of reference to class arbitration in an employment agreement is not “silence” as defined by Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int’l Corp., 559 U.S. 662, 684 (2010), an employer argues in a petitioner brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9 (Lamps Plus, Inc., et al. v. Frank Varela, No. 17-988, U.S. Sup.).

  • July 5, 2018

    Illinois Says It Should Not Be Part Of Consolidated Facebook Data-Sharing MDL

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a June 29 motion, an Illinois state’s attorney asks the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) to vacate its recently issued conditional order, as it relates to the state of Illinois, which consolidated lawsuits over Facebook Inc.’s recent data-sharing incident in a California federal multi-district litigation (MDL) (In re Facebook Inc., Consumer Privacy User Profile Litigation, No. 2843, JPMDL).

  • July 3, 2018

    Privacy Group Supports 9th Circuit Appeal Over Facebook Persistent Cookie Use

    SAN FRANCISCO — Consumer privacy organization The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed an amicus curiae brief on June 26, urging the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that Facebook Inc.’s use of persistent cookies to track the private internet browsing activity of social network users, even after they were logged out of the service, was “an invasive business practice in violation of privacy laws” (In re:  Facebook Inc. Internet Tracking Litigation, No. 17-17486, 9th Cir.).

  • July 3, 2018

    Supreme Court Declines To Hear 4th Amendment Cell-Site Simulator Case

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its June 28 order list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a convicted felon’s petition for certiorari over whether law enforcement’s tracking of his location via a cell-site simulator violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Damian Patrick v. United States, No. 17-6256, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4030).

  • June 28, 2018

    High Court Grants Certiorari In, Vacates, Remands 5 Cell Location Tracking Suits

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Less than a week after issuing a decision in Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States, No. 16-402, U.S. Sup., the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28 applied that ruling, which required a warrant issued with probable cause for the search of a suspect’s cell site location information (CSLI) records, to five similar cases, granting certiorari in each, also vacating the underlying judgments based on warrantless searches and remanding to their respective courts of appeal (Tobias O. Reed v. Virginia, No. 17-5402, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4042; Antoine Chambers v. United States, No. 17-5692, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4063; Anthony C. Thompson v. United States, No. 17-5964, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4056; Gareic J. Hankston v. Texas, No. 17-6213, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4057; Albert D. Banks v. United States, No. 17-6704, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 4050).

  • June 27, 2018

    Lyft Driver’s Unfair Competition Claim Over Uber’s Data Acquisition Dismissed

    SAN FRANCISCO — Reconsidering an earlier ruling allowing a former Lyft Inc. driver to pursue a claim against Uber Technologies Inc. under the California unfair competition law (UCL), a California federal magistrate judge on June 21 held that the driver did not establish entitlement to injunctive or restitutive relief under the statute based on Uber’s obtaining data on the rival firm’s drivers via spyware (Michael Gonzales v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 3:17-cv-02264, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104332).

  • June 26, 2018

    5th Circuit Reverses Ruling In Coverage Dispute Arising From Hacked Credit Cards

    NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 25 found that a federal court erred in granting judgment on the pleadings and dismissing all claims against an insurer in a coverage dispute arising from the hacking of a specialty retail chain insured’s credit card network (Spec's Family Partners, Limited v. The Hanover Insurance Co., No. 17- 20263, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17246).

  • June 25, 2018

    California DNA Collection Law Does Not Violate 4th Amendment, Judge Rules

    SAN FRANCISCO — A long-running constitutional challenge to a California law permitting the collection of DNA samples from certain arrestees came to an end June 22, when a California federal judge followed recent state and federal rulings finding such laws not in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when conducted with probable cause (Elizabeth Aida Haskell, et al. v. Edmund G. Brown, et al., No. 3:09-cv-04779, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105051).

  • June 22, 2018

    Supreme Court: Probable Cause Required For Cell Location Records Search

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A divided U.S. Supreme Court on June 22 found that the government’s search of a suspect’s cell site location information (CSLI) records qualified as a search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thus requiring a showing of probable cause before search of such records in which it found that a user has a reasonable expectation of privacy (Timothy Ivory Carpenter v. United States, No. 16-402, U.S. Sup., 2018 U.S. LEXIS 3844).

  • June 22, 2018

    3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Ex-Employee’s Laptop Data Theft Suit Against Coke

    PHILADELPHIA — Because an ex-employee of The Coca-Cola Co. (Coke) failed to establish a causal connection between credit card fraud and the theft of company-owned laptops containing employees’ personally identifiable information (PII), a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 20 affirmed the dismissal of his putative breach of contract and negligence class claims against the soft drink manufacturer (Shane K. Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., et al., Nos. 17-3153 and 17-3256, 3rd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16613).

  • June 21, 2018

    Google Street View Case Stayed Pending Supreme Court Cy Pres Settlement Ruling

    SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on June 19 agreed to stay a long-running putative privacy class action over Google LLC’s Street View feature in light of a pending U.S. Supreme Court case that the parties believe “is likely to bear directly” on a tentative settlement in the case (In re Google LLC Street View Electronic Communications Litigation, No. 3:10-md-02184, N.D. Calif.).

  • June 20, 2018

    Shifting Of Criminal Conduct To Insurer Violates Public Policy, Insurer Argues

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A commercial general liability insurer on May 30 asked the Fourth District California Court of Appeal to reverse a lower court’s finding that penalties for the crime of secretly recording confidential communications under California Penal Code Section 632 can be shifted onto an insurer, arguing that the lower court’s ruling violates public policy (Nautilus Insurance Company v. Monique Mingione, No. G055914, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3).

  • June 20, 2018

    Patient’s HIPAA Claim Over Lab’s Privacy Failure Dismissed By Federal Judge

    WASHINGTON D.C. — Because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not provide for a private cause of action, a District of Columbia federal judge on June 15 granted a diagnostic laboratory’s motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that the lab violated the act by not furnishing patients with ample privacy while obtaining their personal health information (PHI) (Hope Lee-Thomas v. Laboratory Corporation of America, No. 1:18-cv-00591, D. D.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100428).

  • June 18, 2018

    Facebook Instant Messages Deemed Discoverable In Anthem ERISA Class Action

    INDIANAPOLIS — In light of a defendant’s showing of relevance and the plaintiffs’ failure to establish privilege, an Indiana federal magistrate judge on June 14 concluded that a Facebook instant message string between two named plaintiffs was not covered by a protective order in a putative class action over pension plan administrative fees, leading him to mostly grant a motion to compel (Mary Bell, et al. v. Pension Committee of ATH Holding Company LLC, et al., No. 1:15-cv-02062, S.D. Ind.).