Consumers alleging that Vizio violated various privacy and consumer protection laws by tracking and analyzing the viewing habits of Smart TV users without proper consent have survived a critical stage of the lawsuit. On March 2, 2017, the Honorable Josephine Staton of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California issued an order largely denying Vizio’s Motion to Dismiss the case, which means that the lawsuit can continue into the next phase, and plaintiffs will be permitted to file a second consolidated complaint if they so choose.

Eric Gibbs, David Stein and Amy Zeman will be presenting at the upcoming Mass Tort Med School and Class Actions Conference on March 13-15th in Orlando, Florida. The conference, presented by HB Litigation Conferences, will provide a deep dive into a variety of issues of importance to practitioners, including the science and medicine of mass torts, a focus on trends and developments in current cases, the impact of the changing political climate on class and mass actions, and identifying opportunities that intersect mass torts and class actions.

Bloomberg Law Federal Contracts Report TM published an article this week on the recent dismissal of a False Claims Act Whistleblower case in which one of the company’s engineers charged Raytheon, a large defense contractor, with making false statements about the status of a $1 billion weather satellite program and concealing defects about the technology, while continuing to bill the federal government for the contract. In dismissing the False Claims Act lawsuit, the California judge called the whistleblower complaint “incomprehensible” due to a lack of clarity, grammatical errors and technical jargon.

On February 24, 2017, Girard Gibbs partner Dena Sharp will present at the 2017 Impact Fund Class Action Conference, on the subject “Class Actions Gone Wrong: How to Avoid Filing Bad Cases and What to Do When Your Good Case Goes Bad.” The panel will discuss how to anticipate potential issues and obtain the best outcome for your client or class.

On January 23, 2017, Hon. Beth Freeman of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, granted final approval to a settlement that resolves a class action lawsuit filed in 2015 on behalf of owners and lessees of 2011-2014 model year Hyundai Sonata vehicles who alleged that their vehicles were sold with defective engines that suffered premature failure.  The settlement class vehicles include 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonatas with a Theta II 2.0 or 2.4 liter gasoline direct injection engine, and the settlement provides for a number of benefits to class members, including:  free inspections and repairs, warranty extensions, and reimbursements for past repairs and related costs.  For more specific details on the settlement benefits,  you can view the Hyundai Sonata Engine Failure Class Action page.

Eric Gibbs co-chaired, and David Berger presented, at the Data Breach Litigation and Investigation Forum hosted by HB Litigation Conferences on January 24, 2017. The comprehensive program brought together a collection of leading plaintiff and defense attorneys, judges, regulators, insurance professionals and data breach experts for a critical discussion on developments and trends in data breach from both the litigation and regulatory perspectives. Panels addressed a variety of key issues, including:

David Stein will present at the 2017 Annual Consumer Class Action Conference hosted by Bridgeport Continuing Education on January 13, 2017.  He is one of two faculty members who will lead the discussion entitled “Hot Topics and Trends in Prosecuting & Defending of Consumer Class Actions.”   David will provide the plaintiffs’ perspective on a number of “hot topics,” including class action waivers in arbitration agreements, personal jurisdiction in light of last year’s BMS decision, recalls and voluntary market actions, scrutiny of class settlements and an overview of some recent, significant Ninth Circuit decisions.

David Berger and Aaron Blumenthal presented at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology on January 10, 2017 in an interactive program, entitled “Winning Strategies in Privacy and Data Security Class Actions: The Plaintiffs’ Perspective.” The discussion touched on a variety of current issues impacting complex data breach and privacy litigation, including: