Last week, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action alleging that L’Oreal’s “EverSleek Keratin Caring” hair products deceived consumers into believing the products contained keratin. United States District Court Judge George B. Daniels rejected these allegations, finding that the challenged statements were clear both on their own
Court Says Headphone App Not Eavesdropping, But May Be Deceptive
A federal judge allowed a class-action lawsuit alleging Bose collected and shared data about its headphone users to proceed last week on the basis of deceptive advertising. The decision underscores the risks that internet of things (IoT) businesses can face if they fail to accurately communicate to consumers how a mobile app or “smart” product…
Protected: 2016 Advertising and Privacy Law Summit Attendee Follow up
Protected: 2016 Advertising and Privacy Law Summit Attendee Follow-up
Kohl’s Kicks Putative Class Action Suit Alleging Deceptive Sale Prices
On February 1, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a consumer class action alleging that Kohl’s Department Stores advertises false sale prices. The plaintiff in Mulder v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc., 15-cv-11377 (D. Mass.), asserted causes of action for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violations of the…
Plaintiffs Will Continue to Drive Website Accessibility as DOJ Delays Rulemaking
Since July 2010, the DOJ has sought to issue a proposed rulemaking addressing the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to private retailers offering goods and services to the public online. The rulemaking has been delayed several times, and was most recently scheduled for a Spring 2016 publication.
However, on November 19, 2015,…
UK ICO Fines Sony £250,000 After 2011 Data Breach
On January 24, 2013, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) announced that it has fined Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited £250,000 (approximately $390,000 US) as a result of the 2011 data breach of the Sony PlayStation Network (“PSN”).
In April 2011, Sony announced that it suffered a series of data breaches on the PSN and…
Does Cappuccitti Mark The End Of Federal Jurisdiction Over Consumer Class Actions In The Eleventh Circuit?
In a decision that could render the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) virtually meaningless, the Eleventh Circuit recently held sua sponte that CAFA does not allow for federal court jurisdiction over class actions unless the amount in controversy for at least one plaintiff (or class member) exceeds $75,000. Should this decision hold up, courts in the Eleventh Circuit would lack jurisdiction over virtually all consumer class actions, most of which involve modest claims, whether they are originally filed in or subsequently removed to federal court.
As you may know from previous posts on this blog, Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 to curb “abuses of the class action device,” including state courts being overly friendly toward class certification, insufficient notice being provided to putative class members, and favoring some plaintiffs over others in making class awards. CAFA was supposed to situate more class actions in federal court and make it easier for defendants in a state court action to remove the action to federal court. CAFA provides federal courts with original jurisdiction over class actions in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5,000,000 (aggregating individual class member claims to meet this threshold) and there is minimal diversity (at least one plaintiff and one defendant are from different states).
In Cappuccitti v. DirecTV, Inc., No. 09-14107 (11th Cir. July 19, 2010), plaintiffs sued DirecTV seeking the recovery, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated DirecTV subscribers in Georgia, of the fees DirecTV charges its subscribers for canceling their subscriptions prior to the subscriptions’ expiration. The fees ranged from $175 to $480 per subscriber. DirecTV moved to compel plaintiffs to submit to arbitration, per the arbitration and class action waiver provision in the DirecTV subscriber agreements, and to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. Plaintiffs did not move to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The district court dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint for failure to state a claim, and plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit held that the district court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the complaint, it vacated the district court’s order, and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the complaint.…
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California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act: The Past, Present, and Future
Last week the BNA Privacy & Security Law Report published an article discussing in detail California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (the “Act”). The aim of the article is to provide those persons and businesses that regularly engage in credit card transactions in California, most notably retail merchants, with a meaningful primer on some critical current…
Identify Theft Litigation Update: Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal Of Speculative Claims
Updating a prior post, the Ninth Circuit, in Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., recently upheld a dismissal on summary judgment on the grounds that the mere risk of identity theft is too speculative of an injury to substantiate a cause of action based on negligence. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., No. 09-15971, 2010 WL 2170993 (9th Cir. May 28, 2010)
As background, Plaintiff, Mr. Joel Ruiz, submitted an online job application to work in a Gap store. As part of the application, Ruiz provided his social security number. Gap later disclosed that laptops were stolen from Vangent, the vendor with whom Gap had contracted for recruiting purposes. The laptops contained Ruiz’s unencrypted personal information, along with the information of nearly 800,000 other Gap job applicants.
Ruiz filed a putative class action alleging, among other things, negligence and violation of California Civil Code § 1798.85. Ruiz later amended his complaint to bring a breach of contract claim against Vangent. As discussed in a prior post, the court previously denied a motion to dismiss on the negligence claim. However, defendants were granted summary judgment on the negligence claim after discovery had done little to cure its speculative nature. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., 622 F. Supp. 2d 908 (N.D. Cal. 2009). The court held that an increased risk of identity theft did not constitute “the level of appreciable harm necessary to assert a negligence claim under California law.” Id. at 913.
In the opinion, the Ninth Circuit held that while the increased risk of identity theft created sufficient concern to grant plaintiff Article III standing, the alleged injury was still too speculative to sustain a negligence claim under California law. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., No. 09-15971, 2010 WL 2170993, at *1 (9th Cir. May 28, 2010). “It is fundamental that a negligent act is not accountable unless it results in injury to another.” Id. Notably, the court refrained from answering whether money spent on credit monitoring, as the result of personal information theft, supported a negligence claim. Id. However, the court included a footnote citing authority in favor of awarding medical monitoring costs, thus suggesting that it might be inclined to draw a parallel between these issues in the future. Id. at n1.…
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