The Clash of eDiscovery and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

A recent California discovery ruling may have far-reaching impact on the intersection of CCPA privacy rights and the discovery process in lawsuits. The Central District of California federal magistrate judge in Kaupelis v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc. ruled that the CCPA or other privacy laws can’t preclude plaintiffs from getting the discovery they seek. To balance the discovery and privacy rights, the judge reasoned that a protective order could protect the consumers’ privacy. The court stated that “[n]othing in the CCPA presents a bar to civil discovery.  Notably, no other case has so held.  And the statute itself explicitly says that it is not a restriction on a business’s ability to comply with federal law.” Read my full article here. #ediscovery #CCPA #privacylaws

Why is the Robinhood Trading App. in Hot Water?

Following a volatile trading week in GameStop and other securities, Robinhood now faces a class action and congressional investigation after it restricted users from trading a handful of stocks including GameStop. Online small investor communities—particularly Reddit’s small investor WallStreetBets chat forum—drove an investment frenzy in GameStop and other stocks last week. Masses of regular investors used Robinhood to place their bets and day trade. The meteoric stock rise of GameStop hit a cliff when Robinhood abruptly halted and then restricted trading of this stock and others on Thursday January 28th. Investor outrage exploded over lost investment opportunities. Congress has called Robinhood’s CEO to testify at a congressional hearing amid allegations of its collusion with institutional investors that would benefit from the imposed trading restrictions, to the detriment of the small investors driving the stock up. Read full article here.
#Robinhood #Reddit #WallStreetBets #smallinvestors

Class Action Filed Against Maker of Dystopian Video Game Cyberpunk 2077

The video game developer CD Projekt S.A is in a world of hurt after a shaky release of the hugely anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game in December 2020. My new article outlines the securities class action investors filed in California federal court. The Polish competition and consumer protection authorities have also opened an investigation into the video studio behind the game, CD Projekt Red. Read full article on class action here.#cyberpunk2077 #classactions #videogamelawsuit

COVID-19 Business Interruption Insurance Claims Reach Consolidation

Between March 16 and November 23, 2020, U.S. businesses filed 1,427 business interruption cases against insurance carriers. Given the volume of cases, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation continues to assess motions to the consolidation of these actions. Earlier in the year, the Panel declined to consolidate business interruption litigation on an insurance industry-wide basis, explaining that carrier policy factual differences would not promote efficiency. Since then, the panel has approved a few consolidations, including this most recent MDL against Erie Insurance Group. Read more

Private Prison Shareholders’ Lawsuit Alleges COVID-19 False and Misleading Statements

In what could become a new COVID-19 litigation strategy, a shareholder class action lawsuit was filed recently against a publicly-traded prison and reentry facility management company, Geo Group, claiming violations of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. The shareholder plaintiff alleges that Geo Group misled investors about its COVID-19 precautionary measures in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings and other actions. The class action seeks damages on behalf of Geo Group’s shareholders for harm suffered via stock price drops.

Read more

COVID-19: 5 States Grant Businesses Immunity from Liability for COVID-19 Claims

On the heels of rolling executive orders from Governors across the country granting civil immunity to healthcare organizations and workers during the COVID-19 crisis, States are now moving to protect businesses as well.

As of June 19, 2020, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming have enacted laws that grant businesses immunity from civil lawsuits related to the coronavirus.  Businesses that remained open during the crisis and those now beginning to reopen welcome the immunity protections.  Worker and consumer advocates decry the legislative developments, calling them an unfair limitation on legal recourse.

You can read the rest of my blog here. Congressional action to give businesses federal immunity for COVID-19 claims is currently under debate. More states also continue to grant state-level protections.

Californians to Vote on Privacy Law Tweaks and Expansion in November 2020

November 2020 Update: CA citizens approved the CPRA on November 3, 2020

Last week, California’s Secretary of State announced that the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) that will be on November 2020 ballot. The Californian’s for Consumer Privacy which brought forth the groundbreaking California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that is now the law of the land, wants to push protections farther.

The group tells Californians that the CPRA “will give you the power to take back control over your personal information, expand consumer rights, create more transparency and establish an enforcement arm to protect these rights.” With ACLU polls showing 90% of California voters want more privacy protections, the state is once again poised to lead the nation in privacy law advances.

The CA Secretary of State summarizes the proposed CPRA as follows:

AMENDS CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE

  • (1) prevent businesses from sharing personal information; (2) correct inaccurate personal information; and (3) limit businesses’ use of “sensitive personal information”—such as precise geolocation; race; ethnicity; religion; genetic data; union membership; private communications; and certain sexual orientation, health, and biometric information.
  • Changes criteria for which businesses must comply with these laws.
  • Prohibits businesses’ retention of personal information for longer than reasonably necessary.
  • Triples maximum penalties for violations concerning consumers under age 16.
  • Establishes California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce and implement consumer privacy laws, and impose administrative fines.
  • Requires adoption of substantive regulations.”

    The Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance assessment indicates:
  • “Increased annual state costs of roughly $10 million for a new state agency to monitor compliance and enforcement of consumer privacy laws.
  • Increased state costs, potentially reaching the low millions of dollars annually, from increased workload to DOJ and the state courts, some or all of which would be offset by penalty revenues.
  • Unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer information. (19-0021A1.)”

(bullets added for readability)

My recent overview of the CCPA — before any changes from a successful ballot measure — can be found here.

Implications on Workplace Safety Litigation in the Wake of Dismissed Claims Against Smithfield Foods

I recently wrote an article on the dismissal of a COVID-19 lawsuit that could have far reaching effects on future workplace safety cases. A U.S. district court judge in Missouri ruled that federal agencies — not courts — are in the best position to determine if companies are complying with COVID-19 worker safety standards.

A U.S. district judge in Missouri recently dismissed a worker’s protection lawsuit filed by the Rural Community Workers Alliance. The suit alleged that Smithfield Foods, Inc, the world’s largest pork producer, failed to provide adequate workplace safety in its Milan, Missouri plant. In his opinion, Judge Greg Kays signaled that federal agencies are better suited to determine whether Smithfield’s meatpacking facility complies with relevant federal standards on health protections for workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read the rest here.

Marketers Shift Away from Campaign-based Thinking

“What has been interesting for us has been to see the gradual change amongst marketers who are only now starting to recognize the need to shift away from campaign-based thinking to a more comprehensive mindset for content and customer engagement,” says Jamie Posnanski of Accenture. Read more on 2018 content marketing trends here .  Chimp Tools
Is your marketing strategy evolving towards content and customer engagement?