On April 6, 2017, in a unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court held that an arbitration agreement in Citibank’s credit card contract that purportedly waived the plaintiff’s right to seek public injunctive relief under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), and the False Advertising Law (FAL) in any forum was unenforceable as against California public policy.
On March 31, 2017, the U.K.’s Competition Appeal Tribunal issued its judgment on the first-ever application for an opt-out Collective Proceedings Order (the equivalent of a motion for class certification) under the regime set forth in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”). Although the Tribunal ultimately allowed the claimant to amend and refile her application, its analysis of the CRA’s certification requirements provides crucial guidance on how it will view pending and future class actions.
The case, Dorothy Gibson v. Pride Mobility Products Ltd, is a follow-on action from a finding by the Office of Fair Trading that Pride – one of the largest suppliers of mobility scooters in the U.K. – had violated the Competition Act 1998 by entering into agreements with its dealers so that the latter would not advertise certain models of mobility scooters below prices set by Pride. The proposed class representative brought claims on behalf of approximately 30,000 consumers who alleged they overpaid for their mobility scooters as a result of Pride’s conduct.
In this week’s roundup, a multinational class action against Yahoo, a Thai class action regarding allegedly defective Ford vehicles, and a report on the “preferred jurisdiction for class actions in Canada.”
- A data breach class action against Yahoo seeks to certify subclasses of Yahoo users located in Israel, Venezuela, Australia, and Spain.
- Ford faces a consumer class action in Thailand alleging that their Fiesta and Focus vehicle suffer from engine fires, defective transmissions, and rapid deterioration of several components.
- The International Law Office reports that the Ontario Superior Court approved over 25 class action settlements in 2016, which makes Ontario a “preferred jurisdiction for class actions in Canada.”
On November 25, 2015, the Northern District of California dismissed Cahen v. Toyota Motor Corporation, Case No. 15-cv-01104, one of the first class actions to allege that automotive manufacturers did not sufficiently protect their vehicles’ technology from intrusion by hackers. This class action was first filed in March, following a report issued by Senator Ed Markey that described these security vulnerabilities (Senator Markey would eventually introduce the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, which if enacted would instruct NHTSA and the FTC to create IT security and privacy standards for vehicle electronics and networks).
Relying heavily on the Markey report, the Cahen plaintiffs alleged that Ford, GM, and Toyota manufactured vehicles with computer systems that are “susceptible to dangerous hacking.” According to plaintiffs, a successful hack can result not only in an invasion of privacy, but can also allow the hacker to “take remote control of the operation of a vehicle.” In addition, plaintiffs alleged that the technology in the defendant manufacturers’ vehicles allowed them to collect data from unsuspecting drivers and share such data with third parties. The plaintiffs brought consumer fraud claims under California, Oregon, and Washington law.