Category

Litigation

19 September 2019

In an Eagerly Anticipated Decision, the Ninth Circuit Sides With Web Scrapers

For years, companies seeking to block web scrapers from collecting the information on their website would invoke the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a U.S. law that criminalizes accessing a computer “without authorization.” But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has now ruled that merely instructing scrapers that they are not welcome on a public website, either through a restrictive terms of use or a cease-and-desist letter, is probably not enough to render their access “unauthorized” under the CFAA. This decision is encouraging news for the many hedge funds, academic researchers and other data aggregators that use software bots to compile information online.

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10 September 2019

11th Circuit Rules Single Text Message Not Sufficient for Article III Standing

Creating a circuit split, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has held that receiving a single unwanted text message is not enough to confer standing, even if the text violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The court disagreed with a Ninth Circuit ruling that reached the opposite conclusion in 2017. In so doing, it gave new life to an argument defendants may use to fend off class actions under the TCPA.

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03 September 2019

Carpenter and Everything After: The Supreme Court Nudges the Fourth Amendment into the Information Age

*This article was first published by the American Bar Association Infrastructure and Regulated Industries in Summer 2019.

Every year, as the calendar turns to June, the legal community looks to the Supreme Court. Eager to get to the Term’s end, the Justices rush to complete all of the outstanding opinions. Since the most difficult and important cases usually take the longest to work out, they are typically the stragglers. June is thus the time when the “blockbuster” opinions are issued—the cases that law professors analyze in their tenure pieces and that law school students study, quite possibly for years to come.

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27 August 2019

FTC’s Authority to Obtain Monetary Relief is in Doubt

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has struck a major blow to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforcement authority, holding that the agency cannot seek its preferred remedy of monetary restitution in federal court.

In recent years, the FTC has used Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act)1 as its preferred enforcement mechanism, and it has done so to great effect. In 2017, for example, the FTC obtained $5.29 billion in restitution under this section. Civil penalties, which are authorized under a different part of the statute, totaled just $176 million that same year.

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21 August 2019

Navigating the CCPA’s ‘Notice and Cure’ Provision

*This article was first published by Bloomberg Law in August 2019

Companies doing business with California consumers are impacted by the California Consumer Privacy Act (effective Jan. 1, 2020). The CCPA’s private right of action provision gives California residents the right to sue companies when their personal information is subject to unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure due to a company’s failure “to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices.”

Under this provision, consumers may seek actual damages, declaratory or injunctive relief, and statutory damages, which begin at $100 and continue up to $750 “per consumer per incident.” The potential aggregated exposure through consumer class actions could be significant, and companies are searching for ways to mitigate private lawsuits.

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16 July 2019

A Closer Look at California Privacy Law Bar on Two Contract Clauses

*This article first appeared in Law360 on July 8, 2019

In September of 2018, California passed a significant new consumer privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is the first U.S. law to regulate how businesses with a presence in California collect, share, and use consumer data. The CCPA not only imposes significant compliance obligations on companies conducting business with California residents but also incentivizes class action litigation through both the CCPA’s private right of action and California’s Unfair Competition law.

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03 July 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Poses New Questions About the Scope of Hobbs Act Review

On June 20, in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that had been adverse to the interests of our client, PDR Network. Both the majority and concurring opinions in PDR Network raise interesting issues for lower courts to ponder as they consider how much to defer to agency decision making.

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26 June 2019

Supreme Court Clarifies Broad Interpretation of FOIA Exemption for Confidential Commercial Information

In a very significant FOIA decision for business, Food Mktg. Inst. v. Argus Leader Media, decided on June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed 45 years of understanding that Exemption 4 only protects confidential business information whose disclosure by the government would cause “substantial competitive harm.”

Relying on the plain meaning of words in the statute – rather than what the Court majority characterized as muddled legislative history – the Court found that the D.C. Circuit had engrafted a condition on the Exemption that is not supported by the text.  Rather, so long as the commercial or financial information obtained by the government is “private” or “secret” – the plain and ordinary meaning of “confidential” – it may be withheld from disclosure under FOIA.

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31 May 2019

GDPR: One Year On

The 25th of May, 2019 marked a year since the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force. For most in privacy, involvement with the GDPR has been ongoing for well over this year, but on the first anniversary of the GDPR we take an opportunity to look back and reflect on where we are now in relation to some key areas of interest including enforcement action, privacy litigation, breach notification and developing guidance from the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”).

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