As we previously reported, the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo v. Robins has been nearly universally lauded by defense counsel as a new bulwark against class actions alleging technical violations of federal statutes. It may be that. But Spokeo also poses a significant threat to defendants by defeating their ability to remove exactly the types of cases that defendants most want in federal court. The decision circumscribes the federal jurisdiction, with all its advantages, that defendants have enjoyed under Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) for the past decade. Continue Reading Will Spokeo Undermine CAFA?
On May 16, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, holding 6-2 that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling applied an incomplete analysis when it failed to consider both aspects of the injury-in-fact requirement under Article III. Writing for the Court, Justice Samuel Alito found that a consumer could not sue Spokeo, Inc., an alleged consumer reporting agency that operates a “people search engine,” for a mere statutory violation without alleging actual injury. Continue Reading Supreme Court Finds Consumers Must Prove Injury in Class Actions
As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog:
On November 2, 2015, a putative class action was filed against retailer Big Lots Stores, Inc. in Philadelphia, stemming from allegations that the company “systematically” violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (“FCRA’s”) “standalone disclosure requirement” by making prospective employees sign a document used as a background check consent form that contained extraneous information. Among other things, the plaintiff alleges that Big Lots’ form violates the FCRA because it includes the following three categories of extraneous information: (1) an “implied liability waiver” (specifically, a statement that the applicant “fully understand[s] that all employment decisions are based on legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons”); (2) state-specific notices; and (3) information on how background information will be gathered and from which sources, statements pertaining to disputing any information, and the name and contact information of the consumer reporting agency.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has prepared a new bill that, although styled a “security breach” bill, would impose substantial new privacy obligations on companies holding the personal data of Indiana residents. Introduced by Indiana Senator James Merritt (R-Indianapolis) on January 12, 2015, SB413 would make a number of changes to existing Indiana law. For example, it would amend the existing Indiana breach notification law to apply to all data users, rather than owners of data bases. The bill also would expand Indiana’s breach notification law to eliminate the requirement that the breached data be computerized for notices to be required.
On November 17, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that data privacy certifier True Ultimate Standards Everywhere, Inc. (“TRUSTe”) has agreed to settle charges that the company deceived consumers about its recertification program and misrepresented that it was a non-profit entity in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.
On July 1, 2014, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law a bill that creates new safe destruction requirements for the disposal of business records containing consumer personal information. The new law requires commercial entities conducting business in Delaware to take reasonable steps to destroy their consumers’ “personal identifying information” prior to the disposal of electronic or paper records. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015.
On May 6, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced a new proposed rule impacting privacy notices that financial institutions are required to issue under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLB”). Under the current GLB Privacy Rule, financial institutions must mail an annual privacy notice (the “GLB Privacy Notice”) to their customers that sets forth how they collect, use and disclose those customers’ nonpublic personal information (“NPI”) and whether customers may limit such sharing.
On April 9, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced settlements with two data brokers, Instant Checkmate, Inc. (“Instant Checkmate”) and InfoTrack Information Services, Inc. (“InfoTrack”), which sell public record information about consumers. The settlements stem from allegations that Instant Checkmate and InfoTrack violated various provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). According to the press release, the FTC asserts that the companies violated the FCRA by “providing reports about consumers to users such as prospective employers and landlords without taking reasonable steps to make sure that they were accurate, or without making sure their users had a permissible reason to have them.”
As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog, on March 10, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued joint guidance regarding the use of background checks in the employment context. The agencies issued two guidance documents: Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know (which advises employers on their existing legal obligations under both the Fair Credit Reporting Act and federal non-discrimination laws) and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know (which informs job applicants and employees about their rights with respect to employers running background checks).
On January 16, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with TeleCheck Services, Inc., and its affiliated debt-collection entity, TRS Recovery Services, Inc. (collectively, “TeleCheck”). The settlement stems from allegations that TeleCheck violated various provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). According to the press release, the settlement is “part of a broader initiative to target the practices of data brokers, which often compile, maintain, and sell sensitive consumer information” and is similar to an FTC settlement with a different company in August 2013.