A federal district court in the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action where the plaintiff claimed that the defendant violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”) § 631 for using a third-party chat feature on its website. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for lack of Article III standing but granted leave to amend.

The plaintiff in Valenzuela v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. et al, 3:22-cv-09042, allegedly visited Keurig’s website using a smart phone and conducted a brief conversation through the website’s chat feature. According to the plaintiff, the chat was intercepted by a third-party service provider without plaintiff’s consent. After two prior amendments, the plaintiff filed another amended complaint attempting to provide more detail about their alleged privacy injury and reasserting the claim under CIPA § 631. Keurig filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.

Plaintiff alleged in their amended complaint that their harm was having an “unannounced second auditor” intercept their chat communications. They attempted to analogize their harm to “intrusion upon seclusion” under California common law. The court rejected this analogy, finding that the plaintiff failed to allege they had any “reasonable expectation of privacy” over the contents of their chats with Keurig because they had “not alleged the contents of those chats contained any private information.”

Moreover, because the plaintiff failed to allege the contents of their chat, the court determined the plaintiff had identified only “a bare procedural violation, divorced from any concrete harm.” Without more facts to support an inference that Keurig engaged in any kind of substantive privacy violation, the plaintiff failed to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement for Article III standing. 

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Photo of Barbara Tsao Barbara Tsao

Babs Tsao is an associate in Covington’s litigation practice group who focuses her practice on high-stakes complex litigation in federal and states courts, with a focus in consumer protection and mass torts.

Babs counsels and represents clients from a wide variety of industries…

Babs Tsao is an associate in Covington’s litigation practice group who focuses her practice on high-stakes complex litigation in federal and states courts, with a focus in consumer protection and mass torts.

Babs counsels and represents clients from a wide variety of industries, most recently the technology sector. Her experience with all stages of litigation, as well as government investigations, allows her to advise and assist clients throughout the life cycle of a case.

During her time at Harvard Law School, Babs served as a Teaching Fellow for the First-Year Legal Research & Writing Program and worked as a research assistant to faculty for various constitutional law topics, including the constitutional right to education. Prior to practicing law, Babs was a high school physics and biology teacher for grades 9-12.

Photo of Kathryn Cahoy Kathryn Cahoy

Kate Cahoy uses her substantial class action experience to help clients develop strategic and innovative solutions to their most challenging litigation matters. She specializes in defending clients in complex, high-stakes class action disputes involving privacy, antitrust, and consumer protection claims and has achieved…

Kate Cahoy uses her substantial class action experience to help clients develop strategic and innovative solutions to their most challenging litigation matters. She specializes in defending clients in complex, high-stakes class action disputes involving privacy, antitrust, and consumer protection claims and has achieved significant victories for clients in the technology, entertainment, consumer product, and financial services industries. In addition, Kate has substantial experience litigating cases brought under California’s Section 17200 and other consumer protection, competition, and privacy laws, including the Sherman Act, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and common law and constitutional rights of privacy, among others.