The Attorney General (AG) for California just settled a California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enforcement case against Sephora for $1.2 million. While Sephora denies liability in the settlement, the outcome of this settlement should send shivers down most companies’ spines who may engage in some of the same conduct that landed Sephora in trouble. Read below for some of the major takeaways from this landmark decision.
The Ray Baum’s Act (the “Act”) requires companies to implement additional safeguards related to dialing 911 from the companies’ phone systems, including any software programs used by computers to make phone calls. Aspects of the Act related to landlines/VOIP phones are already in effect and are less controversial. However, many companies have been caught off-guard given the Act applies to software technology and enforcement of the Act begins January 6, 2022. Many companies utilize software programs like Jabber, Webex, Teams, Zoom, and other platforms that allow for the ability to make phone calls from a computer.
Plaintiff’s attorneys have increasingly sued companies alleging their websites fail to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and similar state laws that prohibit discrimination against disabled individuals. The justification of these lawsuits is that companies with websites that do not allow those with disabilities to use and enjoy the website are engaging in unlawful discrimination. While the law remains unsettled in this area (e.g. there is disagreement over the “standard for accessibility” and which companies may be obligated to have accessible websites), judges are increasingly enforcing anti-discrimination laws against companies that do not have accessible websites. The cost of non-compliance can be staggering, costing companies exponentially more than had the company just made their website accessible.
Insurance Companies are Increasingly Excluding Coverage for Copyright and Trademark Infringement Actions
Most companies obtain one or more insurance policies to help limit the company’s risk. A commercial general liability policy (or “CGL policy”) is arguably the most common insurance policy that companies obtain. CGL policies are often thought to provide broad protection to a company for various risk factors. This coverage includes things often outside the company’s control (e.g., things that happen just because the company is “in business”). Many companies rely on these insurance policies to provide coverage to defend against frivolous lawsuits, including those brought by trademark and copyright “trolls” whose primary purpose is to make money through litigation. Without insurance coverage, a company that is met with a (threatened) lawsuit is left to pay extensive attorneys’ fees for a legal defense, and/or must concede to the extortion of the plaintiff (which usually entails paying for a settlement, plus relinquishing other rights that negatively impact the company).
In late 2018, California passed a new law that will, in the near future, present sweeping changes to the pharmaceutical industry and certain medical device manufacturers. The new law amends the existing California Integrated Waste Management Act and is expected to be a boom for medical waste disposal companies who stand to obtain significantly more business. While the law was signed by the California Governor nearly two years ago, the regulations will go into effect in a few months (by January 1, 2021). The original bill, dubbed the “California Sharps and Drug Takeback Bill”, requires a manufacturer of covered drugs or home-generated sharps waste, to offer safe disposal methods for their customers’ used and unused products. The law has potentially sweeping affect because it encompasses all covered drugs and home generated sharps waste that are sold or offered for sale in California.
Our previous article “Does the CCPA Apply to My Company?”[i] outlined some questions to help determine if your company is included in the definition of business for the CCPA. Here, we give a brief overview of the law and discuss both its potential effects and enforcement.
You read it correctly: The United States Government has deemed an online dating application to be a national security concern. The dating application Grindr has earned notoriety for being the gay equivalent to Tinder (a dating “hook up” application for straight people). Grindr has gained remarkable success. The application boasts of having 27 million registered users as well as an average of 3.3 million daily users.