In This Issue:
• Federal Issues
• Firm News
• E-Financial Services
Excerpt from "E-Financial Services"
California District Court Allows Missouri Resident to Advance Class-Action Disability Claim Linked to Online Identity Verification. On September 7, in Earll v. eBay Inc., No. 5:11-cv-00262-JF (N.D. Cal., Sept. 7, 2011) the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that a Missouri resident could proceed with a putative class action claim against eBay, challenging its web-based identity verification system under California's civil rights and disability laws, notwithstanding that she lived out-of-state. The hearing-impaired plaintiff originally alleged that the defendant's automated, phone-based seller verification system discriminated against the deaf in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California's Unfair Competition Law(UCL), but later sought to amend her complaint to remove the UCL claim and add a claim under the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh). The court held that public policy favored allowing the plaintiff to pursue California state law claims where eBay had sought transfer of the case from Missouri and California and, in doing so, had relied upon a forum selection clause in its user agreement providing that the agreement was governed by California law. The court also held that while the ADA was limited to actual physical spaces, the Unruh and the state's Disabled Persons Act apply to websites as a kind of business establishment and accommodation, and that no "nexus to physical [places] need be shown." Because the plaintiff did not plead sufficient facts to assess whether a standard implicated under either state law was met, the court ordered the plaintiff to file an amended complaint within 30 days.
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