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

Low Case Against LinkedIn Dismissed In Its Entirety

Posted in Litigation, Social Media, United States

Yesterday, deeming LinkedIn’s motion to dismiss suitable for decision without oral argument, Judge Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed all eight claims in Low v. LinkedIn with prejudice, ending this litigation.  Covington successfully represented LinkedIn in this case, in which plaintiffs alleged that the purported transmittal to certain third parties of URLs of LinkedIn webpages containing User IDs caused plaintiffs to suffer injury and violated various laws.

The Court previously had granted LinkedIn’s motion to dismiss the original complaint, holding that the sole named plaintiff at that time had not alleged sufficient injury-in-fact to satisfy Article III standing and rejecting plaintiff’s theories of “emotional” and “economic” harm.  This time, noting that the standing evaluation in no way depended on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims, the Court found there to be sufficient Article III standing simply by virtue of claims under “statutes creating legal rights, the invasion of which creates standing.” (See our discussion of the Supreme Court’s dismissal without consideration of Edwards and the Article III implications here).

Turning to the merits, however, Judge Koh identified fatal flaws and an absence of any actual injury under each cause of action—the Stored Communications Act (SCA), the California Constitution, the California False Advertising Law, common law breach of contract, common law invasion of privacy, conversion, unjust enrichment, and negligence. 

Once again digging into substantive SCA issues, Judge Koh agreed with LinkedIn that it could not be functioning as a Remote Computing Service (RCS), as was alleged, because neither the LinkedIn User IDs nor URL addresses of LinkedIn pages at issue had been sent to LinkedIn by users for purposes of offsite storage or processing, as the statute requires.  In analyzing several causes of action Judge Koh also emphasized, consistent with holdings from many other courts, that the unauthorized collection  or disclosure of personal information does not constitute lost money or property or any economic loss.  Because the complaint’s defects were based on these fundamental failures of theory rather than pleading failures, Judge Koh dismissed the entire Low case with prejudice.