In a highly anticipated ruling, a federal judge in California recently denied Goodyear’s motion to dismiss wiretapping claims based on their use of third-party chat applications hosted on their website. This ruling allows the Goodyear Tires wiretapping lawsuit to proceed. The complaint alleges that when users visit www.goodyear.com/ and use the website chat feature, they share personal data in communications that are unlawfully recorded and transcribed. The plaintiff alleged that Goodyear was allowing a third-party company to intercept, eavesdrop, and store transcripts of the conversations, which is prohibited by the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA).
Do you live in California? Did you use a chat feature on a commercial website? You may be eligible to file a civil suit for invasion of privacy and get financial compensation. Contact us now.
CIPA Claim: Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Goodyear Wiretapping Lawsuit
The California Central District Court recently issued a ruling in a case involving allegations that Goodyear Tires violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) by wiretapping user chats on the company’s website. The federal court agreed with the plaintiff that the chat feature violated the CIPA, ruling that the plaintiff contends that Goodyear used a third-party service to “intercept in real time” website visitors’ chat conversations. The court added that the allegation that user messages were unlawfully intercepted “is to be taken as true at this stage of the case.”
In her CIPA claim, the plaintiff alleged that visitors to the Goodyear Tires website share “sensitive personal information” when they use the chat conversation. Significantly, the court ruled that the plaintiff pled sufficient facts for a claim under § 631(a) of the CIPA by showing that chat communications were intercepted, and those communications plausibly contained “more than mere record information” such as her name and address.
Wiretapping of Smartphone Communications
The California Central District Court also addressed the fact that the plaintiff accessed the Goodyear Tires website on her smartphone, which is considered a cellular phone with web capabilities. The federal court noted the precedent set by other courts that have applied § 632.7 of the CIPA to internet-based communications, ruling that the plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that users of Goodyear’s chat feature have a reasonable expectation of privacy because they share highly sensitive personal data.
California Has the Strongest Data Privacy Laws in the Country
Goodyear Forum Selection Clause
In a recent lawsuit filed in California by Los Angeles false advertising attorney Robert Tauler against Goodyear, the tire company attempted to get the case moved to a jurisdiction with less stringent consumer protection laws. Goodyear specifically requested that the venue be changed from the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to the District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
The California federal trial court hearing the case ultimately rejected Goodyear’s motion to change venue, which means that the case will be adjudicated in the California Central District Court and decided under California’s very strong invasion of privacy and consumer protection laws. The court gave several reasons for ruling in favor of the consumer-plaintiff and against Goodyear, including contract formation laws which require mutual assent in order for a contract to be binding on both parties.
Are Internet Contracts Legally Enforceable?
- Clickwrap Agreements: Site visitors must check a box to confirm that they agree with the website’s terms and conditions of use.
- Browsewrap Agreements: Site visitors are able to click on a hyperlink that will take them to a page with the website’s terms and conditions of use.
Goodyear Browsewrap Agreement
Class Action Lawsuit Against Goodyear Tires for Violating California’s Wiretapping Law
When you visit a website, you have an expectation that your personal data will be protected and that any conversations you have on the website will remain confidential. The Los Angeles consumer protection attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP help clients file CIPA claims both individually and in class action lawsuits against companies that violate California’s data privacy laws. For example, our attorneys have represented individuals whose data was compromised due to illegal wiretapping and eavesdropping, including chat conversations on company websites.
The CIPA is a criminal statute that subjects companies to criminal penalties, including jail time and substantial fines. Victims can also bring civil lawsuits to recover statutory damages of $5,000 for each illegally recorded conversation. In some cases, it may be possible to recover treble damages, meaning that plaintiffs are eligible for up to three (3) times the total economic damages caused by the invasion of privacy.
Contact the California Consumer Protection Attorneys at Tauler Smith LLP Today
Did you use the chat feature on the Goodyear Tires website? Did you use a chat feature on any other commercial website? If so, your personal data may have been unlawfully recorded without your consent and in violation of both state and federal wiretapping laws. The California consumer protection lawyers at Tauler Smith LLP can help you. Call 310-590-3927 or send an email to learn more and find out if you are eligible to file a CIPA claim.