California Report: California Privacy, What’s New in 17-Two, & Proposition 64


January brought two important privacy cases for California class actions. First, the California Supreme Court held that potential class member customers’ privacy rights do not require their affirmative consent before a class action defendant can be ordered to produce contact information as to unnamed class members. Pioneer Elecs. (USA), Inc. v. Super. Ct., 40 Cal. 4th 360 (2007). The court held that the customers’ privacy right would be adequately

protected by notice and an opportunity to opt out of disclosure. Although the California Constitution

protects an individual’s “reasonable expectation of privacy against a serious invasion,” an “opt-out” procedure strikes the proper balance between the plaintiff’s need to know and the complaining customers’ privacy rights. In reaching this result, the court reaffirmed the approach it took over thirty years ago in Valley Bank of Nevada v. Superior Court, 15 Cal. 3d 652 (1975), in which the court

balanced the need for discovery with the consumers’ right to privacy in their financial affairs.


As we reported in our last issue, the California Supreme Court granted review in In re Tobacco II Cases, which will decide whether Proposition 64 accomplished anything.


In February, the district court in Sacramento answered what it characterized a question of first impression under Proposition 64: What does it mean that a plaintiff bringing a Section 17200 claim must have lost “money or property”? Walker v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co., ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2007 WL

460944 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 12, 2007).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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