On March 30, 2021, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Transunion LLC v. Ramirez, No. 20-297, a case that could have far-reaching implications on absent class member standing, particularly where the injuries of these absent class members would be impossible or difficult to establish.  The Court agreed to address whether Article III or Rule 23 permits a damages class action where the vast majority of the class suffered no actual injury, let alone an injury like what the class representative suffered.… Continue Reading

For those who haven’t previously been following, this is our third installment on COVID-19 class actions.  The first installment was prospective and authored prior to any filed class actions.   The second installment examined the first certified class and putative class actions filed in the mass tort and consumer spaces.   In this installment, we discuss and analyze recent coronavirus-related putative class actions in the areas of banking, privacy, higher education, and securities.

Banking Class Actions:

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed and the President signed, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). In the weeks following the … Continue Reading

Welcome to a three-part series that provides an overview of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA), examines recent CIPA litigation involving smart speakers, and proposes defenses in response to an alleged violation.

CIPA in the Age of Smart Devices

The California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA)[1]—traditionally used by law enforcement and the plaintiffs’ bar to address illegal recording/eavesdropping on phone calls—has seen renewed interest in the age of smart speakers. Smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri, are voice-enabled devices where the user utters a “wake word” to activate a “virtual assistant”.  A … Continue Reading

Massachusetts has seen a small uptick in class actions in the last eighteen months, particularly ones that cite Mass Gen. Law Ch. 93A, Masschusetts’s consumer protection law. David G. Thomas, James P. Ponsetto, and Michael E. Pastore of Greenberg Traurig have an explanation. In their Law360 article Behind The Class Action Surge Against Mass. Retailers  takes an in-depth look at a line of cases originated by the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling in Tyler v. Michaels Stores Inc., 464 Mass. 492 (2013). These class actions challenge the practice of including ZIP codes in the information that retailers collect … Continue Reading

 In late 2007 and early 2008, the Hannaford Brothers Grocery stores suffered a security breach: thieves stole the debit and credit card data of thousands of customers. As one might imagine, a number of lawsuits followed, including a number that were consolidated into litigation in the District of Maine. After extensive pretrial litigation in various courts, the trial court was faced with the question of whether to certify a class action that sought damages for card replacement fees and purchases of data protection products.

In the resulting opinion, In re Hannaford Bros. Customer Data Security Continue Reading

Paul Karlsgodt (of the longstanding and outstanding Class Action Blawg) has published an article with the University of Denver Law Review’s Online Edition: Statutory Penalties and Class Actions: Social Justice or Legalized Extortion? Statutory Penalties is an excellent introduction to the problem of defending class actions based on statutory violations, and Karlsgodt’s focus on privacy litigation is a welcome one.

Among the most useful parts of his article, Karlsgodt provides a handy summary of the "annihilation argument" and how it’s currently received by the courts.

One argument raised in early class actions involving potentially annihilating statutory damages liability

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 For the most part, this blog has focused on tactics that defendants may use to oppose class certification. But another important part of class action defense is being alert to new trends in class-action practice. And, in the last few years, a new type of class action has arisen that is worth looking at more closely: the data-breach class action, which seeks to hold companies liable for revealing customer data once they’ve been hacked.

For example, take In re Hannaford Bros. Co. Customer Data Security Breach Litigation. The specific opinion affirmed a remand of a class action under CAFA’s Continue Reading