Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, individuals and businesses have gotten creative about how to gather and meet for everything from company meetings to happy hours to high school reunions and weddings. While applications like Skype and FaceTime have been popular for years, Zoom is the program that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue—mainly because it allows numerous people to meet and talk to each other via video link all at the same time. Originally developed as a video-conferencing program for businesses, Zoom, for the first time, is now serving individual users for activities having nothing to [...]
In a significant decision regarding the applicability of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), the D.C. Court of Appeals recently held that the TCPA does not impose strict liability on a person or entity whose goods or services are advertised in an unsolicited fax. Instead, the Court ruled that the Act may impose vicarious liability on a person or entity on whose behalf unsolicited fax ads were sent, regardless as to who actually sent the faxes. In FDS Rest., Inc. v. All Plumbing, Inc., No. 16-CV-1009, 2020 D.C. App. LEXIS 111 (Mar. 26, 2020), FDS [...]
Class Actions and Privacy Laws – Could Facial Recognition Technology Be Changing the Face of the “injury-in-fact” Requirement for Class Actions?
Facial recognition software has grown exponentially over the past several years. It is used almost everywhere, from airports, shopping centers, law enforcement and even Facebook. Many states have also issued privacy laws protecting consumers from these types of invasions of privacy. For example, Illinois enacted The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has been in the news lately. 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 14/1 et seq. (2008). This statute requires companies to obtain written releases from individuals before collecting their “face geometry” and other biometric data. A recent case demonstrates the strict application of this statute. In 2015, [...]
Junk Faxes – The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Battle of the “Unsolicited Advertisement”
On June 20, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in PDR Network, LLC, et al. v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., Docket No. 17-1705. This case involves the receipt of an unsolicited fax and whether such a fax violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Court declined to squarely answer the question, but instead, sent it back to theCourt of Appeals for additional review. Generally, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) anyone can sue if they receive an unsolicited ad by fax. This is exactly what happened in PDR Network. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic [...]
The District of Columbia Circuit in the Spotlight: Does Bristol-Myers Apply to Class Action Lawsuits?
The appeal at issue originated from a class action lawsuit filed by Whole Foods Market’s employees in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Molock v. Whole Foods Mkt., Inc., 297 F.Supp. 3d 114 (D.D.C. 2018). Specifically, on June 22, 2017, Whole Foods Market’s employees filed a class action lawsuit for unpaid wages. The class consisted of current and former Whole Foods Market employees from the District of Columbia and several states. The employees claimed that they were not paid their entitled bonuses as a result of managers manipulating certain labor cost and [...]
On April 24, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court held that an ambiguous arbitration clause is not sufficient under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to force class arbitration on a non-consenting party. Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, No. 17-1988. The Court concluded that lower courts may not draw an inference from an ambiguous agreement that the parties consented to class arbitration and that neither silence nor ambiguity can establish a party’s consent to class arbitration under the FAA. This is because, according to the Court, parties’ consent to arbitrate is the foundational principle of arbitration agreements. Lamps Plus [...]
On September 27, 2018, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether, under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), a third-party defendant can remove a class action from state to federal court. Home Depot USA, Inc., U.S. No. 17-1471. CAFA allows “any defendant” to remove actions from state to federal court if certain jurisdictional requirements are met. This case arose when Citibank N.A. brought a debt collection action against George Jackson in state court alleging he failed to pay for a water treatment system he bought using a Citibank credit card. Jackson filed a counterclaim against Citibank and third-party class [...]