- “Lawyer sues 20-year-old student who gave a bad Yelp review, loses badly” [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica]
- Gown makers’ associational liberty not to sell to Trump family should also protect florist Barronelle Stutzman [Stephanie Slade/Reason; Eugene Volokh on legal treatment of private discrimination based on political belief or association]
- What to expect from Trump on legal policy: Harvard Law panel with Adrian Vermeule, Cass Sunstein, Andrew Crespo;
- More on new Jonathan Adler book on business and the Roberts Court [Bainbridge]
- Edelson class action firm, discussed here before, files vibrator data privacy suit [Chicago Tribune]
- “Legal Theory Lexicon: Libertarian Theories of Law” [Lawrence Solum]
A would-be class action from Edelson PC “aims to represent two classes — every American on Twitter who has ever received a direct message and every American on Twitter who has ever sent a direct message.” The claim is that Twitter’s use of URL shorteners for links sent within direct messages (DMs) violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy law because the service “reads” (if only by algorithm) communications that it promised were confidential. “The claimed damages are as high as $100 per day for each Twitter user whose privacy was violated.” [Hollywood Reporter] Overlawyered readers have met the Chicago-based Edelson class-action firm on previous occasions.
“Only two of the estimated 232,000 class members claimed the coupons” in a class action led by Edelson McGuire LLP. Defendant Dick’s Sporting Goods “agreed not to oppose the plaintiff’s request for $210,000 in attorney fees and costs and a $3,500 incentive award,” but an Orange County, Calif. judge took away a large chunk of that sum because… why? Because some of the lawyers angling for it had not been admitted to practice in California, that’s why. [Kenneth Ofgang, Metropolitan News-Enterprise; Golba v. Dick’s Sporting Goods, unpublished]
- “On what planet is it remotely constitutional to *raid someone’s home* and forbid them from speaking about it?” [Julian Sanchez on new at-length National Review account of Wisconsin John Doe raids; my earlier writing on the raids at Cato and here; Scott Shackford, Reason; Walker opponents still defending John Doe proceeding, to praise from (updated) left-leaning national Alliance for Justice and Center for American Progress]
- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes bill to provide more transparency in state’s hiring of outside counsel [Legal NewsLine]
- BuckyBalls gone, Zen Magnets still standing: “Two Cheers for 10th Circuit’s Temporary Stay of CPSC’s New Magnet Safety Standard” [Mark Chenoweth, WLF]
- Arkansas governor vetoes “right of publicity” bill [Volokh]
- NY Times profiles prolific privacy lawsuit filer Jay Edelson, whose class action firm we’ve met before;
- Recusal motion gamesmanship from trial lawyers at Illinois Supreme Court [Richard Samp, WLF]
- Law faculty diversity: Republican women “were — and are — almost missing from law teaching.” [James Lindgren, SSRN via TaxProf; more from Lindgren]
From the summary: “Judge throws out multibillion dollar suit arising from obscure CD-and-audiotape rental law, saying there’s no evidence anyone was actually harmed by Pandora’s integration with Facebook two years ago.”
The suit [by class action firm Edelson McGuire] claimed violations of an obscure pre-Internet era Michigan law, which says a company “renting or lending” sound recordings may not disclose details about customers’ transactions without their written permission. Because it specifies $5,000 penalty per violation, the possible damages could total in the tens of billions — far more than Pandora’s actual $1.8 billion market capitalization.
The judge, however, said the law did not create a right of action on behalf of unharmed consumers, and also was unpersuaded that the music-streaming service was “renting or lending” songs. [Declan McCullagh, CNet]
It might be more accurate to identify the protagonist in this little tale as a class action law firm, rather than as a California “fan”:
Fred Weiss is the only plaintiff named in the class-action suit. In it, he claims he suffered “actual harm” because he was “subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies the invasion of privacy caused by unsolicited text message calls, but also because consumers have to pay their cell phone service providers for the receipt of such wireless calls.” Weiss is bringing the suit under a federal law that prohibits unsolicited texts. …
The terms and conditions of the text program said the Pens would send no more than three messages per week for those who chose to subscribe. In his first week as a subscriber, Weiss claims the Pens sent him five texts. In the second week, Weiss says he got four.
Electronic Arts/Maxis, which makes the new evolution simulation game Spore, gave it more aggressive digital rights management than many users wish it had, so it’s off to court with a lawsuit filed by class action firm KamberEdelson and named plaintiff Melissa Thomas. (Chris Faylor, “Spore DRM Prompts $5M Class Action Lawsuit”, ShackNews, Sept. 24; Courthouse News, Sept. 23).
The retailer quickly modified its managemyhome.com web site after it was pointed out that unauthorized users might get it to cough up records of homeowners’ past purchases. The law firm of KamberEdelson LLC quickly hopped on the case with a class action demanding millions, saying bad guys might use the information on past lawn mower purchases and the like to trick homeowners into divulging more serious financial data, though its complaint cited no instances where anything of the sort had actually happened. (“Sears Accused Of Violating Consumer Fraud Law”, Reuters/New York Times, Jan. 7; BenEdelman.org). Chicago lawyer/blogger David Fish isn’t impressed with the turn to legal action, asking, “Are you legally damaged because your nosy neighbor found out how much your washing machine cost?” (Jan. 10).