Setting up a social media profile posing as someone else likely violates the platform’s terms of service. It may also constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and civil fraud. Illinois-based poultry processor Wayne Farms LLC filed a federal complaint against a John Doe defendant as well as LinkedIn Corporation arising from a profile purporting to be Wayne Farms’ Senior Sales Manager.
In the first decision of its kind, a California appellate court has held that Amazon may be subject to liability for a personal injury caused by a third-party product sold through its site. Angela Bolger purchased a replacement laptop computer battery on Amazon and was burned when the battery later exploded. She sued Amazon.ComLLC and the seller of the battery, Lenoge Technology Ltd.
Amazon successfully moved to dismiss the lawsuit at the trial court level, arguing that it was simply an “online marketplace” and not the seller of the product. On appeal, Bolger argued that Amazon should be strictly liable for defective third-party products offered on its site. The court of appeals agreed, finding that Amazon was “pivotal” in bringing the product to Bolger through actions, including:
Google Argues Accidental Recording Doesn’t Violate Applicable Laws Last summer, a proposed class action was filed in a California federal court against Alphabet, Inc., the parent company of Google, alleging that the accidental recording of conversations by Google Assistant violates various state and federal privacy and wiretap laws. The voice activated device is intended only to record a conversation when a ‘hotword” such as “Hey Google” or “OK Google” is spoken. The plaintiffs allege that Google Assistant also recorded conversations after being accidentally activated.
Google recently filed a motion to dismiss each count of the lawsuit, arguing that the recording by the voice activated device was not intentional, as required by wiretap laws. Google also argued that accidental recording is not unexpected – “Plaintiffs knew that a function of the Assistant is to respond to voice-activated queries, so it is reasonable to expect that it may activate in error.” The court has yet to rule on Google’s motion.
Google’s brief in support of its motion to dismiss is available here. Contact us at Ossian Law regarding any information technology law question.
Michigan Personal Privacy Protection Act Extends to Out State Residents In 1988, Michigan enacted the Personal Privacy Protection Act (PPPA) to “preserve personal privacy with respect to the purchase, rental, or borrowing” of written materials, sound recordings, and video recordings. Enacted with the video rental industry in mind, the PPPA prohibits sellers of media from disclosing sale or rental “information . . . that indicates the identity of the customer.”
Gary Lin, a paid subscriber of a Crain magazine and a Virginia resident, filed a proposed class action against Crain Communications Inc. alleging that Crain sold “highly detailed customer lists” including sensitive information about its subscribers to data aggregators in violation of the PPPA. Crain moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis that the PPPA protects only Michigan residents and, therefore, Lin, as a Virginia resident, cannot seek relief under the PPPA.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan denied Crain’s motion, holding that the PPPS does not impose a residency requirement for customers to have protections under the act.
The Lin order is available here. Contact us at Ossian Law regarding any information technology law question.
A federal court in New Jersey has lifted a preliminary injunction enjoining former ADP salesmen from engaging in certain conduct alleged by ADP to violate non-compete provisions in their employment agreements. The injunction had been originally entered in June, 2016, months after Jordan Lynch and John Halpin left their employment with ADP. The restrictive covenants were contractually limited to one year, subject to tolling.
ADP conceded and the court ruled that the preliminary injunction should be discontinued as to Lynch because more a year had passed and Lynch never violated the preliminary injunction.
Within a few days after leaving ADP, Halpin started working for an ADP competitor and solicited several ADP clients from January 2016 through June, 2017. The court found that some of Halpin’s contacts with ADP clients during that time violated the preliminary injunction. The court rejected ADP’s argument that Halpin continued to violate the preliminary injunction by working for the competitor, thereby tolling the one year period, as there was no evidence that Halpin solicited any ADP clients between July 1, 2017 and October 17, 2018, a period of more than one year.
Read the court’s opinion here. Contact us at Ossian Law regarding any information technology law question.
Two recent class action-styled lawsuits have been filed against Facebook and Google, respectively, for allegedly tracking and storing user location data even after the user had turned off location tracking features.More
California has become the first state to pass legislation to regulate the Internet of Things. The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, applies to manufacturers of connected devices, which are defined as “any device, or physical object that is capable of connecting to the Internet, directly or indirectly, and that is assigned an [IP] address or Bluetooth address.” More
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