On March 29, 2023, the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the regulations implementing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The regulations were approved by the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) during its February 3rd meeting (see our report here) and filed with the OAL on February 14, 2023. The regulations are effective as of March 29, 2023. As soon as they are processed through the OAL, the CPPA will post the officially final regulations here.

The March 29th regulations are the first substantive regulations produced by the CPPA but are not complete. On February 10, 2023, the CPPA invited comments from the public on Cybersecurity Audits, Risk Assessments, and Automated Decision making as required by CCPA (Cal Civ Code § 1798.185(a)(15)-(16)). Comments were due on March 27. (See Privacy World’s discussion of these topics here, here and here.)

Meanwhile, on March 30th, the California Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court against the CPPA and the California Attorney General. The CalChamber wants complete and final regulations and prohibitions on any civil or administrative CCPA enforcement until 12 months after regulations are adopted. The CalChamber asserts that California voters provided a one-year period for businesses to comply with CCPA, noting that the regulations approved on March 29th are an “incomplete set of regulations”. The CalChamber wants the court to order the CCPA to “adopt final regulations and abide by the timelines for enforcement that were approved by the voters.” No doubt businesses covered by CCPA would welcome the clarity of final regulations and assurance that CCPA enforcement will be delayed. Stay tuned for more on the next round of rule-making.

With much less hoopla, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s comprehensive privacy law on March 28, 2023, noting that Iowa is the sixth US state to enact a general privacy law. Click here for our prior coverage on what we dubbed the Iowa Privacy Law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2025.

A busy end to March, indeed.

2022 saw cases continue to be filed under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), although perhaps reflecting the increasing reliance of the plaintiffs’ bar on negligence and tort-based privacy claims concerning a defendant’s alleged failure to maintain “reasonable security,” the number of cases of CCPA based claims declined. Read on for Privacy World’s highlights of the year’s most significant events concerning the CCPA, as well as our predictions for what 2023 may bring.


The CCPA went into effect on January 1, 2020, with the vast majority of its provisions applying to entities that qualify as “businesses.”

As a recap, what entities qualify as a business under the CCPA? The statute defines a business as a for-profit, private entity that (1) collects “personal information”, (2) determines the purposes and means of processing that personal information, (3) does business in California, and (4) meets certain revenue thresholds (>$25 million global gross revenue annually) and/or data collection/selling/sharing thresholds.

In addition to imposing numerous compliance obligations* on businesses, CCPA covered businesses are also subject to the law’s limited private right of action for certain security breaches.

*While the majority of this post focuses on the private right of action and enforcement-related issues, for those interested in the CCPA’s compliance obligations, effectiveness of the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA,”* which substantially amends the CCPA and became effective as of Jan. 1 this year), applicability of the CCPA to human resources and business-to-business data, and information on other state privacy laws, please see our recent post Are You Ready for the 2023 Privacy Laws? *References to CPRA in the remainder of this article mean the CCPA as amended by the CPRA, unless otherwise indicated.

Back to the private right of action, Section 1798.150(a)(1) of the CCPA provides a private right of action to “[a]ny consumer whose nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information … is subject to an unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure” due to a business failing to satisfy “the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices….” (emphasis supplied).

Damages available for a private right of action under Section 1798.150(a)(1) include a statutory amount of between $100 and $750 “per consumer per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater”, as well as injunctive or declaratory relief and “any other relief the court deems proper” (emphasis supplied).

CCPA Litigation Activity in 2022

Since the CCPA came into effect, nearly 300 cases have been filed by plaintiffs alleging violations of the statute.  The majority of these have been filed in California federal court (Northern and Central Districts of California being the most favored jurisdiction for such filings), with some also being brought in California state court and in other jurisdictions.

Although the number of CCPA filings declined from 2021, this may be due to the plaintiffs’ bar shifting towards alleging negligence and tort-based privacy claims in the wake of a data event.  This can be explained in part that such claims typically (although not always) are less burdensome to plead for them to survive past the motion to dismiss stage.  By contrast, it appears that based on at least rulings thus far courts have attempted to narrowly construe the CCPA’s limited private right of action.

Courts have consistently dismissed CCPA claims when it is clear from the face of the complaint that Plaintiff’s allegations do not concern a security breach as required to plead a civil cause of action under the CCPA.  Additional rulings this year reinforced the temporal requirements of the statute (that it must involve conduct arising as of the CCPA’s date of enactment, not before) and that the CCPA could not be relied upon by a defendant as a basis for refusing to comply with its discovery obligations in litigation.  Although many CCPA litigations involve software based claims and the tech industry in the wake of a data breach, healthcare and financial services entities, among others, have also been targeted.

CCPA Claims, Article III standing and Settlement Activity

As longtime readers of the blog are aware, Article III standing in the context of data privacy cases is in a constant state of flux—particularly in the Ninth Circuit.

When a CCPA claim is asserted in federal court, it must meet that “irreducible minimum,” as it is frequently described.  Article III standing consists of 1) suffering some actual or threatened injury; 2) fairly traceable to the defendant; which 3) is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision.  The injury must be concrete, rather than abstract, and particularized, meaning that it affects the plaintiff in a personal and individual way.  Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 578 U.S. 330, 339 (2016).  But as the Supreme Court held in 2021, “an injury in law is not an injury in fact,” and a plaintiff must do more than show a bare statutory violation for a claim to exist. TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190, 2205 (2021).

In Kirsten, 2022 WL 16894503, the Central District of California addressed a defendant’s contention that a plaintiff lacked standing to pursue a CCPA claim, among others, because they could not fairly trace instances of identity theft, fraudulent credit card charges, and inability to access online accounts to the data breach at issue.  The court rejected the defendant’s argument, holding instead that past injury from misappropriated personal information gave rise to a substantial risk of threatened injury in the future.  Particularly notable is the court’s premising standing both on the actual injuries the plaintiffs experienced and the injuries they might experience in the future.

In Hayden v. Retail Equation, Inc., 2022 WL 2254461 (reconsidered and vacated in part on other grounds), the Central District of California addressed the specific requirements necessary to give rise to an injury under the CCPA.  Plaintiffs, retail consumers, sued a variety of retailers for their use of a “risk scoring” system that collected and shared individualized personal data with a vendor in order to assess the risk of fraud when a consumer attempted a product return or exchange.

Plaintiffs sued under Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.150(a), which required them to show that “nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information” was “subject to an unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure as a result of the business’s violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information to protect the personal information.”  The Court found that Plaintiffs had not asserted a claim under the CCPA because the disclosure of their information was not the result of a failure to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices; rather, it was “a business decision to combat retail fraud.”  Plaintiffs’ failure to allege a violation of specific duties under the CCPA, as opposed to a more generalized complaint about the misuse of their data, could not support their claim.  The Hayden court also found that non-California residents lacked standing to bring suit under the CCPA.

The most significant CCPA settlement of 2022 was the $350 million T-Mobile settlement to resolve multidistrict litigation brought by T-Mobile customers whose data was allegedly exposed in a 2021 data breach.  In August 2021, T-Mobile disclosed that it had been the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the compromise of some current, former and prospective customers’ SSN, name, address, date of birth and driver’s license/ID information the “Data Event”).  By T-Mobile’s account, no “customer financial information, credit card information, debit or other payment information” was exposed in the attack.  Nevertheless, over 40 putative class action claims were filed seeking damages for the improper disclosure of Plaintiffs’ personal information.

On July 22, 2022, Plaintiffs in the T-Mobile case filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement to the class.  As part of the settlement, T-Mobile agreed to fund a non-reversionary $350 million settlement fund to pay class claims for out-of-pocket losses or charges incurred as a result of identity theft or fraud, falsified tax returns, or other alleged misuse of a class member’s personal information.  The settlement fund will then make payments to class members on a claims-made basis with a $25,000 aggregate claims cap per class member.  The proposed settlement also contemplates attorneys’ fees of no more than 30% of the settlement fund, approximately $105 million, and $2,500 individual service awards to class representatives.

2022: Continued Enforcement Activity by California OAG

As we predicted at the end of last year, 2022 saw continued enforcement activity at the state level. Headlines were ablaze in August with California’s Office of the Attorney General announcing its first settlement of a CCPA enforcement action.

Readers of the blog will know that the CA OAG’s CCPA enforcement efforts started in July 2020. While numerous cookie DNS and GPC cases were initially (and quietly) settled by the OAG without monetary penalty or public settlements, that all changed in August 2022 with the OAG announcing its required payment of $1.2 million from a retailer to settle claims of alleged CCPA violations.

The settlement marks a new era of CCPA enforcement in which real repercussions, including monetary penalties, may be imposed. In addition to the settlement, the OAG released “illustrative examples” of other non-public enforcement cases, including the types of violations, remediation activities carried out by the alleged violators, and the alleged violators’ type of business/industry (which included a number of industries that surprised many who thought they were perhaps not on the OAG’s radar for CCPA compliance, such as B2B-focused businesses and companies that are largely (but not fully) exempt from the CCPA, such as healthcare businesses and financial and insurance businesses.  For detailed analysis of the OAG’s settlement, see our blog post here.

Litigation and Enforcement in 2023 and Beyond


The CPRA’s amendments to the CCPA brought some changes to the private right of action for certain security breaches, namely an expansion of the private right of action where a breach involves data in the form of an email address in combination with a password or security question and an answer that would permit access to an account. In addition, the CPRA’s amendments provide that that remediation of vulnerabilities post-breach are an insufficient cure to preclude statutory damages.

There is not otherwise a private right of action for non-security breach related violations under the CPRA; however, the CPRA opens the possibility of enforcement by all California county district attorneys and the four largest city district attorneys (though that is up for debate). In addition, despite the clarity that the private right of action is limited to certain types of security incidents, it is conceivable that an incomplete or inaccurate response to a consumer request might also give rise to an independent deception claim, and plaintiffs’ lawyers are expected to otherwise test the scope of the limitation on private consumer and class action relief. There is no private right of action for violations of the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (“VCDPA”), Colorado Privacy Act (“CPA”), Utah Consumer Privacy Act (“UCPA”), or Connecticut Act Concerning Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring (referred to as the “CTPA” herein). Put another way, this means there is not a private right of action for security breaches or security-breach related violations under those laws.


The enforcement risk will certainly increase under the CPRA in 2023 with the California Privacy Protection Agency, or CPPA, enforcing the CPRA alongside the OAG starting on July 1, 2023. In addition to California, Virginia’s privacy law came into effect and was enforceable as of January 1, and privacy laws in Colorado, Connecticut, and Utah will become effective throughout the year (see chart below).

Effective Date Jan. 1, 2023 Jan. 1, 2023 July 1, 2023 Dec. 31, 2023 July 1, 2023
Enforcement Date July 1, 2023 Jan. 1, 2023 July 1, 2023 Dec. 31, 2023 July 1, 2023
Enforcement Details 30-Day Notice and Cure Provision will remain in effect indefinitely for security breach violations only. 30-Day Notice and Cure Provision will remain in effect indefinitely. 60-Day Notice and Cure Provision will remain in effect until January 1, 2025 30-Day Notice and Cure Provision will remain in effect indefinitely. 30-Day Notice and Cure Provision will remain in effect until December 31, 2024.

Enforcement of the CPRA is delayed until July 1, 2023 and, unlike the CCPA between its effective and enforcement dates, there is an explicit grace period between January 1 and July 1, 2023. However, the CCPA’s provisions (without the CPRA’s amendments) will remain effective and enforceable between January 1 and July 1, and the required 30-day cure period no longer exists. Importantly, this means that the full scope of the CCPA also currently applies to HR and B2B data, and there is no delay in enforcement with respect to the same.

Under the CPRA, both agencies can seek civil penalties of $2,500 for each violation or $7,500 for each intentional violation or violations involving the data of minors. Violations may be potentially calculated based on each applicable piece of data or consumer, and, thus, exposure could be substantial. The existing requirement in the CCPA to provide notice of violation and give a 30-day cure period before bringing an enforcement action is eliminated by the CPRA, but the law permits the agencies to consider good faith cooperation efforts by the business when calculating the fine, and prosecutorial discretion is not limited. Further, CPPA actions are subject to a probable cause hearing prior to commencement of an administrative enforcement proceeding.

In Virginia, Utah, and Connecticut, the Attorney General has exclusive enforcement authority. The Virginia Attorney General may seek injunctive relief and civil penalties of $7,500 per violation. In Colorado, the state Attorney General or District Attorneys may bring an action for injunctive relief and civil penalties under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, which provides for civil penalties of $500 per violation, actual damages, or three times actual damages if bad faith is shown. In Utah, the Attorney General may bring an action for actual damages to consumers and civil penalties of up to $7,500 per violation. In Connecticut, the Attorney General may treat a violation of CTPA as an unfair trade practice under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”); however, the private right of action and class action provisions of CUTPA dot not extend to violations of the CTPA. Nevertheless, remedies available for violations of CUTPA include restraining orders; actual and punitive damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees; and civil penalties of up to $5,000 for willful violations and $25,000 for restraining order violations.

However, like the CCPA (but unlike the CPRA), the respective Attorneys General of Virginia and Utah must provide a controller or processor with 30 days’ written notice of any violation of the VCDPA/UCPA, specifying the provisions that the Attorney General alleges have been violated. In Virginia and Utah, a controller or processor can avoid statutory damages if, within this 30-day cure period, it cures the noticed violation and provides the Attorney General with an express written statement that the alleged violations have been cured and that no further violations will occur. Under Connecticut and Colorado’s laws, their respective AGs must provide violators with notice of alleged violations and an opportunity to cure any such violations within a 60-day period following delivery of the notice. The requirement to allow for a cure period in Colorado sunsets on January 1, 2025 (though, the AG would almost certainly have prosecutorial discretion to allow for a cure). In Connecticut, the cure requirement becomes discretionary on January 1, 2025, as well.

Check back often for our continued updates on privacy litigation and enforcement trends and updates.  Privacy World will be there to keep you in the loop.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced today an investigative sweep of mobile apps, focused on popular apps in the retail, travel, and food service industries that fail to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). According to a press release, the sweep is focused on apps that allegedly fail to comply with consumer opt-out requests or do not offer any mechanism for consumers who want to stop the sale of their data. The press release also highlights enforcement in relation to handling of agent requests, namely through an agent service created by Consumer Reports called “Permission Slip.”

Continue Reading California AG Announces CCPA Compliance Sweep of Mobile Apps ahead of Data Privacy Day

A federal court recently sanctioned defendants for spoilation of evidence in litigation. In doing so, the Court rejected the Defendant’s argument that they changed their data settings in good faith to align with the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) and the International Standard of Operation Compliance (“ISO”). 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178233 (N.D. Ohio Sep. 29, 2022). Read on to learn more.

Continue Reading Federal Court Sanctions Company for Spoilation of Evidence Over Arguments Data Settings Changed to Comply with CCPA and ISO Requirements

On August 24, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a press release announcing the first public settlement by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) involving alleged violations of the CCPA. The settlement involves a judicial judgment, civil penalties and ongoing monitoring and reporting. The use of noncompliance letters to cajole companies into compliance over many months now appears to be a closed chapter in the CCPA saga. Season 2 promises more drama, more action and more money. Entertaining unless you are the next target!

Continue Reading The Cookie Crumbles – Lessons from First California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Monetary Settlement

In a record-setting proposed settlement filed last week, T-Mobile has agreed to pay $350 million and boost its data security by $150 million over the next two years to resolve multidistrict litigation brought by T-Mobile customers whose data was allegedly exposed in a 2021 data breach.  Read on for the terms of the settlement, which may serve as a model in other high stakes data security cases going forward.

Recall that in August 2021, T-Mobile disclosed that it had been the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the compromise of some current, former and prospective customers’ SSN, name, address, date of birth and driver’s license/ID information the “Data Event”).  By T-Mobile’s account, no “customer financial information, credit card information, debit or other payment information” was exposed in the attack.  Nevertheless, over 40 putative class action claims were filed seeking damages for the improper disclosure of Plaintiffs’ personal information.  In December 2021, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred and centralized the putative class actions into the MDL standing before the Western District of Missouri.

Continue Reading T-Mobile Agrees in MDL to Record Setting $350 Million Data Breach Settlement to Resolve CCPA and Other Privacy Claims

As we covered at the end of last month, the California Attorney General is targeting loyalty programs in a recent enforcement sweep alleging noncompliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). CPW’s Kyle Dull, a Senior Associate in Squire Patton Boggs Data Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Assets Practice, was recently interviewed by Law360 concerning businesses’ data practices in the operation of their loyalty programs. You can check out the Law360 article and his comments here. From the article: Continue Reading Loyalty Program CCPA Compliance: Kyle Dull Talks to Law360

On Friday, Feb. 18, California Assemblymember Evan Low (D) introduced two bills (AB 2871 and AB 2891) that propose to extend the CCPA’s HR and B2B data exemptions, one through Dec. 31, 2026 and the other indefinitely. These proposed amendments were introduced just 10 months prior to the main provisions of the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) coming into effect, particularly the CPRA’s consequential provisions which cause HR and B2B data – specifically, personal information of HR data subjects (e.g., employees, applicants and independent contractors) and collected in certain B2B transactions and communications – to become subject to the full scope of California’s omnibus privacy law. It’s not yet clear whether either of these bills has widespread support. However, if either does pass, it is almost certain that the legislature’s authority to do so will be challenged by privacy advocates on a constitutional basis, as we analyze below. Organizations for now should therefore proceed as if the HR and B2B will be in full scope of the CPRA starting Jan. 1, 2023.

The California Constitution prescribes when the legislature can amend a statute that was passed through a ballot referendum (the CPRA was approved as a referendum by California voters on Election Day 2020). In particular, Article II, Section 10(c) of the California Constitution states that “The Legislature may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without the electors’ approval.” The initiative statute – here the CPRA – does permit amendment or repeal without elector approval,

provided that such amendments are consistent with and further the purpose and intent of this Act as set forth in Section 3, including amendments to the exemptions in Section 1798.145 if the laws upon which the exemptions are based are amended to enhance privacy and are consistent with and further the purposes and intent of this Act. CPRA, Section 25(a).

The purpose and intent of the CPRA as to the extension of the HR and B2B exemption is stated directly: “It is the purpose and intent of the Act to extend the exemptions in this title for employee and business to business communications until January 1, 2023.” It’s not clear whether further extending the exemption as these proposed bills would are consistent with this purpose and intent, or if doing so could arguably serve to enhance privacy, especially  in the absence of corresponding efforts to establish statutory privacy protections for these types of data subjects. Notably, the preamble of the CPRA additionally states, “The privacy interests of employees and independent contractors should also be protected, taking into account the differences in the relationship between employees or independent contractors and businesses, as compared to the relationship between consumers and businesses.” This additional proviso leaves open the door for legislation that treats at least HR data subjects somewhat differently than traditional consumers.

These amendments will almost certainly tee up a challenge. Even if one or both of the amendments gain steam, organizations should be reluctant to forego preparation for compliance with the CPRA as it relates to HR and B2B data because of the potential challenges these bills could face even if passed into law.

2021 was another record setting year for the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”).  Read on for CPW’s highlights of the year’s most significant events concerning CCPA litigation, as well as our predictions for what 2022 may bring.

2020 Recap: The CCPA Comes Into Effect

The CCPA went into effect on January 1, 2020.  It regulates any “business” that “does business in California,” even those without a physical presence in the state, and determines the means and purposes of the processing of “personal information”.

As a recap, what entities qualify as a “business” subject to the CCPA? The statute defines a “business” as a for-profit, private entity that (1) collects “personal information”, (2) determines the means of processing that personal information, (3) does business in California, and (4) meets one of the following criteria:

  • Has annual gross revenues exceeding $25 million;
  • Annually sells/buys or receives/shares for commercial purposes the personal information of 50,000 or more California consumers; or
  • Derives 50% or more of its annual revenue from selling personal information.

Generally, the CCPA covers all information so long as it relates to a California resident or California household.  Aligning with the GDPR, the CCPA defines “personal information” to include “information that identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or household.”  Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.140(o).

The CCPA requires compliance with its notification and transparency notices.  First, the CCPA expects businesses to present up to four notices, to be determined by that business’s practices.  Second, businesses must also inform consumers of their rights under the CCPA including their: (1) right to know, (2) right to delete, (3) right to opt out, (4) right to not be discriminated against for exercising their CCPA rights.

Section 1798.150(a)(1) of the CCPA provides a private right of action to “[a]ny consumer whose nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information … is subject to an unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure” due to a business failing to satisfy “the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices….” (emphasis supplied).  Damages available for a private right of action under Section 1798.150(a)(1) include a statutory amount of between $100 and $750 “per consumer per incident or actual damages, whichever is greater”, as well as injunctive or declaratory relief and “any other relief the court deems proper” (emphasis supplied).

The first CCPA lawsuit, Fuentes v. Sunshine Behavioral Health Group, LLC, No. 8:20-cv-00487 (C.D. Cal.), appeared on March 10, 2020, only three months after the law went into effect.  Others soon followed.

Overview of 2021 CCPA Litigations: What Do the Numbers Show?

To date, over 125 cases asserting CCPA claims have been filed this year, with the vast majority (91.2%) filed in federal courts.  Each quarter of 2021 has seen roughly the same number of cases filed (about 30-35 cases).  Not surprisingly, about 60% of all federal cases were filed in California’s federal courts, with the largest number of cases filed in the Northern and Southern Districts of California.  Outside of California, the Western District of Washington had the largest number of CCPA cases filed with ten total cases filed to date.  A handful of cases have also been filed in district courts in each of the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits.  Ten of the eleven state court cases filed have been filed in California Superior Courts.

Interestingly, nearly 40% of all CCPA cases filed this year either concerned the T-Mobile data event or alternatively, another data event involving a financial services company following account hacks on the California Employment Development Department’s (“EDD”) prepaid debit cards.  As such, the largest number of cases filed this year were concentrated in the communications and financial services industries.  The remaining CCPA cases, however, span a wide range of industries—including technology, healthcare, insurance, and hospitality.  Even a hair transplant company had a CCPA lawsuit brought against it this year.

And while cyber theft remains on the rise, plaintiffs (and plaintiffs’ attorneys) have not lost sight of other data use implications mandated by the CCPA.  For example, Flo Health Inc., an ovulation-tracking app has been hit with a number of class action lawsuits alleging the app “secretly collected” (i.e. without consent) personal information of users—including whether women were trying to get pregnant—and shared that data with third-party data collectors and advertisers.  The lawsuits follow the FTC’s investigation into related concerns.  Some of the complaints against Flo Health reference the CCPA as supporting other claims raised by plaintiffs, such as violation of the California’s Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq.), without asserting a direct CCPA claim.

2021 Developments in CCPA Case Law

This year has seen a number of developments in CCPA litigation case law.  We highlight a few of those developments here.

At the beginning of this year, one federal court held that the CCPA does not limit the scope of discovery in litigation.  Will Kaupelis v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., Case No. 19-01203 (C.D. Cal.).  This case was brought as a putative class action and concerned claims that the defendant allegedly manufactured and sold chainsaws with a design defect.  After defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied, plaintiff sought discovery that included the PI of customers who had complained about the purported product defect (including individuals in California).  The defendant resisted production of this information, in reliance on the CCPA.  Specifically, the defendant argued that the CCPA expanded the privacy rights previously provided under California law.  As such, the defendant argued that the court should “protect the consumers’ PI by allowing consumers an opportunity to opt out from disclosure.”   The defendant claimed this approach was consistent with the CCPA’s notice and consent requirements.  The court, however, granted plaintiff’s motion to compel, stating 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.”  The court later dismissed an amended complaint on similar grounds.

In March, Walmart scored a massive win for defendants in data privacy litigation in the Lavarious Gardiner v. Walmart Inc. et al. case.  The Court adopted Walmart’s narrow interpretation of the CCPA and dismissed Plaintiff’s non-cognizable CCPA claim.  As a reminder, this case involved a plaintiff inferring, from finding his information on the dark web, that Walmart had suffered a data breach.  In response, Walmart argued first, that Plaintiff’s failure to allege when the breach purportedly occurred was fatal to the Complaint because the CCPA is not retroactive.  The Court sided with Walmart and agreed that Plaintiff needed to plead a breach occurring after January 1, 2020:  “Absent allegations establishing that Walmart’s alleged violation of the CCPA occurred after it went into effect, Plaintiff’s CCPA claim is not viable. Second, the Court also held that Plaintiff’s CCPA claim failed for the additional reason that Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege disclosure of his personal information as defined in the CCPA.  Cal. Civ. Code § 1798.81.5.  The Court found insufficient the Complaint’s allegation that the purported breach compromised the full names, financial account information, credit card information, and other PII of Walmart customers: “[a]lthough in the Complaint Plaintiff generally refers to financial information and credit card fraud, he does not allege the disclosure of a credit or debit card or account number, and the required security or access code to access the account.”  (emphasis added).

In July, 2021 the Central District of California denied a motion to compel arbitration brought by the Gap in the data breach litigation, Shadi Hayden v. Retail Equation et al., No. 20-cv-01203 (C.D. Cal. July 07, 2020).  There the court reasoned that, because the Gap was not a party to the arbitration agreement it attempt to invoke, the arbitration agreement did not apply to bar the litigation.  The Gap subsequently appealed, and the case remains pending.

In an August decision, a federal judge found the majority of Plaintiffs’ statutory claims to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in the In re Blackbaud data privacy multi-district litigation.  MDL No. 2972 (D.S.C. Aug. 12, 2021).  Plaintiffs’ allegations that a cyberattack resulting from Blackbaud’s “deficient security program” and failure to comply with industry and regulatory standards, was sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.   As to the CCPA, the Court found that Blackbaud was alleged to be a “business” under the CCPA, relying largely on its registration as a “data broker” under California law.  The Court notably rejected Blackbaud’s argument that it was a “service provider” as insulating it from liability under the CCPA.

In another significant ruling, in Brooks v. Thomson Reuters Corp., No. 21-cv-01418-EMC, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154093 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 16, 2021) the Northern District of California recently denied in part a defendant’s motion to dismiss a complaint alleging violations of various consumer privacy statutes. Of note, the Court found that an affirmative defense of compliance with one privacy statute, the CCPA, did not shield defendant from liability for alleged violations of other state laws.

Finally, in December, the Northern District of California denied a motion to intervene and oppose a preliminary approved settlement in the litigation that followed a widespread data event Accellion had suffered.  Cochran v. Accellion, Inc., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 214686 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 2021).  In Cochran, one of the entities that used Accellion as a services provider agreed as part of a $5 million dollar settlement to modify its business practices going forward.  This would include switching to a “new secure file transfer solution,” securing or destroying the personal information subject to the data event and boosting its third-party vendor risk management program.  In denying the Proposed Intervenor’s Motion to Intervene, the Court analyzed intervention as a matter of right and permissive intervention. The Court, however, rejected that intervenors could intervene as a matter of right because the Court heard the Proposed Intervenors’ objections to the proposed settlement on two occasions, the settlement agreement allows putative intervenors to protect their interests by opting out of the settlement class, and because the Court found that the Proposed Intervenors interest in a preliminary settlement approval is not a “significant protectable interest.”  The Court denied permissive intervention because, among other things, the Proposed Intervenors already had the opportunity to participate in the fairness hearings.

Predictions for CCPA Litigation in 2022

So what is on the horizon for 2022? Certainly an expansion of consumer privacy laws that follow California’s lead.  This past year saw Virginia and Colorado launch privacy legislation and that trend will continue in 2022.  While claims invoking the consumer privacy law of other states may be kept at bay during 2022, the lessons learned from CCPA litigation will come into play in 2023 as those new laws, particularly those with a private right of action, start going into effect.

In the meantime, we can expect that the lawsuits making their way through the courts will continue shaping the contours of CCPA litigation.  Of particular interest will be the impact of the Ramirez v. TransUnion decision upon class action litigation, including CCPA claims arising from a data incident.  As previously noted, which commentators worried that Ramirez might preclude data breach litigations from being brought in federal courts, those concerns have not materialized, with CCPA claims remaining just at home in federal court in state court.

We can also expect to see continued enforcement activity at the state level.  In July 2021, California’s Attorney General Bonta issued a press release summarizing its first year of CCPA enforcement and reinforcing its commitment to CCPA enforcement.  The pressure will remain on companies to annually update their California privacy notices to avoid finding themselves the target of enforcement activities.

2022 is going to remain busy for CCPA litigation and enforcement.  Not to worry, CPW will be there to keep you in the loop.  Stay tuned.

Registration is open for a series of upcoming not-to-be-missed webinars covering key areas for companies seeking to regulate the global compliance landscape.  Register below for insights from CPW’s Alan Friel, Marisol Mork, and others.

Webinar Series: Advertising, Media and Brands – Global Compliance Challenges

2021 has provided unique challenges for businesses operating across the advertising, media and brands industry. Aside from the impact of the pandemic, we are seeing a changing and challenging landscape due to increasing economic, consumer, regulatory and compliance pressures.

With increased exposure as a result of these pressures, Squire Patton Boggs and BDO will be hosting four webinars to support the advertising, media and brands industry in navigating these challenges:

  • November 11, 2021 – Global Data, Technology and Tax
  • November 30, 2021 – M&A Landscape, Post-COVID-19 Transaction Trends and Tips, and Top Five Due Diligence Risks
  • January 12, 2022 – Global Anti-counterfeiting and Brand Protection Trends, and Top Five AMB Hot Topics
  • February 2, 2022 – The Rise of ESG and Global Workplace Challenges

Hosted by Squire Patton Boggs and BDO

Click here to register.

Conference: ANA/BAA Marketing Law Conference (In-Person and Virtual)

Nov. 15-17, 2021: San Diego

Session: California Privacy: What Direction Next From CCPA and CRPA?

Alan Friel (Squire Patton Boggs) will review California’s privacy laws with representatives from the California Privacy Protection Agency and the OAG.

Session: State and Local Attorney General Enforcement updates by Marisol Mork (Squire Patton Boggs)

Hosted by ANA.

Click here to register.