Last week, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in NVIDIA Corp. v. E. Ohman J:or Fonder AB to address two important questions on the standard for pleading securities fraud claims under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”): (1) whether plaintiffs seeking to allege scienter under the PSLRA based on allegations about internal company documents must plead with particularity the contents of those documents, and (2) whether plaintiffs can satisfy the PSLRA’s falsity requirement by relying on an expert opinion to substitute for particularized allegations of fact.

Continue Reading Supreme Court to Review Securities Pleading Standard

A federal court in the Northern District of California recently dismissed the majority of claims from a putative class action against Western Digital, in which plaintiffs claim that alleged security flaws in the manufacturer’s data storage devices allowed cyber hackers to access and delete plaintiffs’ data.  See Riordan v. W. Digital Corp., No. 21-CV-06074-EJD, 2024 WL 2868152 (N.D. Cal. June 5, 2024).  The court previously granted in part Western Digital’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend.

Continue Reading Multiple Claims Dismissed from Putative Class Action Involving Cyber Attack on Data Storage Devices

California’s prohibition on so-called “hidden” or “junk” fees in consumer transactions is set to take effect on July 1, 2024, with potentially wide-ranging ramifications for how prices are displayed or offered to consumers in the Golden State – and the potential for a significant wave of new class action litigation.

The law—often referred to by its bill number, SB 478—amends California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) to restrict the prices and fees businesses can offer to California consumers.  The basic prohibition is stated in simple terms:  businesses can no longer “advertis[e], display[], or offer[] a price for a good or service that does not include all mandatory fees or charges” to consumers, with limited exceptions such as for sales tax and certain shipping charges.  SB 478 § 3 (to be codified at Cal Civ. Code § 1770(a)(29)(A)).  But this simple language generates numerous complexities.  For example:  Are clearly disclosed fees prohibited if not folded into the main price, or just fees not presented to consumers in close proximity (in both location and time) to the primary price?  When is a fee “mandatory”?  Can fees that are included in a price still be itemized? 

Continue Reading Outlawing Hide-and-Seek:  California’s Prohibition on “Hidden Fees” in Consumer Pricing Set to Take Effect

An Ohio federal district court recently dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a class action complaint asserting claims arising from a data breach experienced by defendant Associated Materials, LLC.  See Marlin v. Associated Materials, LLC, 2024 WL 2319115 (N.D. Ohio May 22, 2024).

Continue Reading Ohio Federal Court Dismisses Data Breach Lawsuit for Lack of Article III Standing

We recently posted about a trend of plaintiffs trying to keep certain class actions, including wiretap cases, in California state court and highlighted potential avenues for removal to federal court. Another federal court has weighed in, declining to remand because the plaintiff did not establish that CAFA’s mandatory local controversy exception applied. Miramalek v. Los Angeles Times Communications LLC, 2024 WL 2479940 (N.D. Cal. May 23, 2024). This recent case offers another potential ground for opposing a motion to remand, though it also underscores the attendant risk of jurisdictional discovery.

Continue Reading N.D. Cal. Court Declines Remand of California-Focused Wiretap Class Action

JAMS recently has become the latest arbitral institution to publish rules tailored to the unique issues presented by mass arbitration filings.  Mass arbitration filings have become a popular tactic among plaintiffs’ lawyers and a significant source of potential exposure for companies.

Effective May 1, 2024, parties agreeing to arbitration under the JAMS Rules will be able to opt into the application of the Mass Arbitration Procedures and Guidelines (the “Procedures”) and an accompanying Mass Arbitration Procedures Fee Schedule (“Fee Schedule”) for certain mass filings.  The Procedures and Fee Schedule include features similar to those available under the rules of other arbitral institutions, including the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”) and National Arbitration and Mediation, including the designation of a Process Administrator to hear and determine preliminary and administrative matters in a more streamlined and cost-efficient manner.  For JAMS to assign a Process Administrator, the parties must pay a flat fee of $7,500, at least $5,000 of which shall be paid by the business in consumer mass arbitrations.

We previously discussed here the AAA’s mass arbitration procedures, which were last updated on April 1.  The Procedures adopted by JAMS differ from the AAA’s current mass arbitration procedures in several notable ways, including those summarized in the table below.

Continue Reading JAMS Implements New Procedures for Mass Arbitrations

A federal judge in the Western District of Washington recently dismissed a class action complaint accusing Overlake Hospital Medical Center of unlawfully disclosing the health data of patients who accessed its websites to third parties.  See Nienaber v. Overlake Hosp. Med. Ctr., 2024 WL 2133709 (W.D. Wash. May 13, 2024).  Plaintiff Jacq Nienaber, an Overlake patient, alleged that the hospital shared her private data with Meta and other third parties through the use of the Meta Pixel and Meta’s Conversions Application Programming Interface on its public website and private patient portal. 

Continue Reading Washington Federal Court Dismisses Privacy Claims Involving Hospital Website

In two recent decisions, federal courts of appeals confirmed they are prepared to give close scrutiny to a class settlement that offers a hefty payday to plaintiffs’ counsel with very little genuine benefit to any class.

Continue Reading A Closer Look:  Appellate Courts Closely Scrutinize Settlements

A court in the District of South Carolina recently denied class certification in a putative consumer data breach class action after concluding that the proposed class and sub-classes were not ascertainable. See In re Blackbaud, Inc., Customer Data Breach Litigation, 2024 WL 21555221 (D.S.C. May 14, 2024).

In February 2022, plaintiffs filed suit against Blackbaud, a business-to-business software company that sells cloud-computing services to social good organizations. Plaintiffs, who had provided personal information to Blackbaud’s customers, alleged that their information was compromised during a breach of Blackbaud’s data centers. In December 2022, plaintiffs moved to certify nationwide and sub-classes representing individuals whose “unencrypted information was stored on the database” of a Blackbaud customer. In support of class certification, plaintiffs sought to demonstrate that the proposed classes were ascertainable by relying on (1) expert opinion, (2) Blackbaud’s discovery responses, (3) customer notices Blackbaud sent following the breach, and (4) Blackbaud’s use of a database to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act. The court rejected each of those arguments.

Continue Reading South Carolina Federal Court Denies Class Certification in Consumer Data Breach Case