Yesterday, Plaintiff’s counsel filed a consolidated, amended complaint [PDF] in In re iPhone Application Litigation, which includes as defendants only Apple and a group of “Tracking Defendants” (Admob, Flurry, MobClix, Pinch Media, Trafficmarketplace.com, Mellenial Media, AdMarval, and Quattro Wireless). Notably absent from the defendants are the application owners/developers themselves, including Pandora Media, the New York Times, and National Public Radio. (NPR is represented by Covington in this matter). As we wrote previously, Pandora recently disclosed in a SEC filing that it has been served with a federal grand jury subpoena in connection with information sharing involving mobile applications.
The new complaint synthesizes four lawsuits filed this year against Apple and other defendants relating to the alleged transmission of “personal information,” including Unique Device IDs to application developers and mobile advertising networks. On March 15, 2011, Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, consolidated [PDF] these four cases, all of which had varying defendants and causes of action, into In re iPhone Application Litigation. The consolidated, amended complaint now contains eight causes of action, including negligence, as to defendant Apple and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) and California Computer Crime Law, as to all defendants. At core, the complaint asserts that Apple, despite tightly controlling all application development for its devices, permitted application developers to build applications that could access personally identifiable information from user devices, which was then allegedly acquired, compiled, and exploited by the “Tracking Defendants.” Unlike several of the originally-filed lawsuits, the consolidated, amended complaint omits any claim under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”).
Further aggregation may be on the horizon as Apple has requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transfer to the Northern District of California actions that have been filed in Arkansas and Puerto Rico involving the same facts.