Practical Tips for Defending California Consumer Privacy Act Class Actions

Law360 | May.19.2021

Privacy & Cybersecurity Litigation partners Doug Meal and Michelle Visser, along with counsel David Cohen, authored this article for Law360 on practical tips for defending California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) class actions. As was anticipated when it was first enacted, the CCPA has resulted in a significant number of class action litigations. Doug, Michelle and David assess the litigation to date and provide key practical takeaways for how businesses faced with such actions can seek early dismissal.

When the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) became operative on Jan. 1, 2020, it ushered in a game-changing increase in liability exposure for companies that interact with personal information (PI). In addition to permitting regulatory enforcement of its privacy requirements, the statute creates a private right of action for certain data breaches. While private class actions over data breaches are not new, the CCPA upped the ante for American businesses by providing that California consumers can pursue class actions for statutory damages of between $100 and $750 per consumer per incident merely because they had specified types of PI 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. The CCPA purports to allow these statutory damages even when the consumers suffered no separate harm from the alleged unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure.