SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A group of seven plaintiffs filed a motion today with the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) to consolidate 11 related privacy class actions against Facebook, and transfer them to the federal court in San Jose, California. The first-filed case, styled Davis, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., Civ. Action No. 11-cv-04834 (PSG) (N.D. Cal.), alleges federal wiretapping and computer fraud claims against Facebook following recent revelations of Facebook’s secret tracking of its members’ computer usage. Since then, at least 10 other related cases have been filed in Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama and California.
David Straite, an attorney in Delaware representing the plaintiffs, said: “Already, we have 11 cases in 10 different courts alleging similar facts and similar causes of action. It is possible that others will be filed. Consolidating these cases and transferring them to San Jose is in the best interest of the class and judicial efficiency,” said Straite. Co-counsel Stephen Grygiel agreed, adding, “Collecting these related cases in San Jose is entirely sensible, the right result legally and practically.” Barry Eichen, also co-counsel for the plaintiffs, noted this weekend’s report in the New York Times that Facebook may be collecting data about children under 13 without permission from their parents, contrary to federal law: ”We are concerned with this new revelation and will seek to investigate it.”
Professor Perritt, the author of the 730-page Law and the Information Superhighway, noted the intense interest Facebook’s actions have recently received from Congress, the Irish Government, and privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center. ”Internet privacy protection in the United States depends largely on self-regulation. When social network providers do not live up to their published privacy guarantees, it represents a serious threat to this system – and to the trust on which the continued growth of social networking depends,” said Perritt.
A copy of the Class Action Complaint in Davis v. Facebook and today’s Motion filed with the JPML can be viewed on the Firms’ websites at www.siannistraite.com, www.keefebartels.com, and www.njadvocates.com.