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Inside Privacy Updates on Developments in Global Privacy & Data Security from Covington & Burling LLP

Judge Dismisses Putative Class Action Against “Who’s-Who of Social Media Companies”

Posted in Litigation, Privacy Policies, Social Media, United States

A court in Texas recently dismissed a lawsuit it described as “an aspiring class action against a veritable who’s-who of social media companies.”  The Plaintiffs in Opperman v. Path claimed that the Defendants improperly used their smartphone apps to copy, upload, and store Plaintiffs’ address book information without their consent.

According to the court, the Plaintiffs’ first Complaint was over 150 pages, cited a confusing jumble of Texas, California, and federal laws, contained material that was repetitive and unnecessary, and showed “a general attitude of smug pomposity.”  Although the court had stated that it hoped the Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint would fix these problems, it found that the Amended Complaint was more than twice as long and full of the same problems, leading the court to theorize that the Plaintiffs had “the court of public opinion in mind” when drafting it.

The court held that, because of these flaws, both versions of the Complaint violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), which requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”  Consequently, he dismissed the Complaints without prejudice, allowing the Plaintiffs to file a Second Amended Complaint within twenty days.  The judge warned, however, that if the next complaint does not comply with the “letter and spirit” of the Federal Rules, it will be dismissed with prejudice, ending the case.