Saturday, January 20, 2018

Privacy Rights when e-commerce directed to California Consumers

California Civil Code §1798.83 (Title 1.81. Customer Records)

« Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), if a business has an established business relationship with a customer and has within the immediately preceding calendar year disclosed personal information that corresponds to any of the categories of personal information set forth in paragraph (6) of subdivision (e) to third parties, and if the business knows or reasonably should know that the third parties used the personal information for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes, that business shall, after the receipt of a written or electronic mail request, or, if the business chooses to receive requests by toll-free telephone or facsimile numbers, a telephone or facsimile request from the customer, provide all of the following information to the customer free of charge: (…) Add to the home page of its Web site a link either to a page titled “Your Privacy Rights” or add the words “Your Privacy Rights” to the home page’s link to the business’s privacy policy (…) The first page of the link shall describe a customer’s rights pursuant to this section and shall provide the designated mailing address, e-mail address, as required, or toll-free telephone number or facsimile number, as appropriate (…)If a business that is required to comply with this section adopts and discloses to the public, in its privacy policy, a policy of not disclosing personal information of customers to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes unless the customer first affirmatively agrees to that disclosure, or of not disclosing the personal information of customers to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes if the customer has exercised an option that prevents that information from being disclosed to third parties for those purposes, as long as the business maintains and discloses the policies, the business may comply with subdivision (a) by notifying the customer of his or her right to prevent disclosure of personal information, and providing the customer with a cost-free means to exercise that right. »

Hence, a Website directed to California Customers may wisely add at least a statement of this kind :
Link : Your California Privacy Rights
Text : California Civil Code Section 1798.83 permits our visitors who are California residents to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please send an email to, or write to us at: x, or call us at: ().

Monday, January 8, 2018

Children's Online Privacy

Children's Online Privacy: Privacy: Data security: Competition: Internet: Safe WEB Act.

FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jan. 8, 2018.

Electronic toy manufacturer VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary have agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the company violated a U.S. children’s privacy law by collecting personal information from children without providing direct notice and obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. VTech will pay $650,000 as part of the settlement with the FTC.

In a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, the Commission alleges that the Kid Connect app used with some of VTech’s electronic toys collected the personal information of hundreds of thousands of children, and that the company failed to provide direct notice to parents or obtain verifiable consent from parents concerning its information collection practices, as required under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In its first children’s privacy case involving Internet-connected toys, the FTC also alleges that VTech failed to use reasonable and appropriate data security measures to protect personal information it collected.

COPPA requires that companies collecting personal information from children under 13 online follow steps to ensure that children’s information is protected, including clearly disclosing to parents the information it collects, how the information will be used, and seeking verifiable parental consent. Companies also must take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of the personal information they collect about children.

According to the complaint against VTech, the company collected personal information from parents on its Learning Lodge Navigator online platform, where the Kid Connect app was available for download, and also through a now-defunct web-based gaming and chat platform called Planet VTech. Before using Kid Connect or Planet VTech, parents were required to register and provide personal information including their name, email address as well as their children’s name, date of birth and gender. VTech also collected personal information from children when they used the Kid Connect app.

With respect to Kid Connect, VTech failed to provide direct notice of its information collection and use practices to parents and did not link to its privacy policy in each area where personal information was collected from children.

At the same time, the complaint alleges that the company did not take reasonable steps to protect the information it collected through Kid Connect, such as implementing adequate safeguards and security measures to protect transmitted and stored information and implementing an intrusion prevention or detection system to alert the company of an unauthorized intrusion of its network. In November 2015, VTech was informed by a journalist that a hacker accessed its computer network and personal information about consumers including children who used its Kid Connect app.

The FTC also alleges that VTech violated the FTC Act by falsely stating in its privacy policy that most personal information submitted by users through the Learning Lodge and Planet VTech would be encrypted. The company, however, did not encrypt any of this information.

In addition to the monetary settlement, VTech is permanently prohibited from violating COPPA in the future and from misrepresenting its security and privacy practices as part of the proposed settlement. It also is required to implement a comprehensive data security program, which will be subject to independent audits for 20 years.

The FTC collaborated with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which is releasing its own Report of Findings. To facilitate cooperation with its Canadian partner, the FTC relied on key provisions of the U.S. SAFE WEB Act, which allows the FTC to share information with foreign counterparts to combat deceptive and unfair practices that cross national borders.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and stipulated final order was 2-0. The complaint and stipulated final order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

Related Case

For Consumers

For Businesses

Thursday, December 21, 2017

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Misrepresentation (California law): Duty of care: Warning: Product warning: Failure to warn: Strict liability: Negligence: Sophisticated user & intermediary defenses: Tort:

Under our state’s law, there is no per se requirement in negligent misrepresentation actions that the misrepresentation be made by the product
manufacturer. Consider Hanberry v. Hearst Corp. (1969) 276 Cal.App.2d 680, where the plaintiff alleged that defective shoes caused her injuries. (Id. at p. 682.) The Court of Appeal allowed the negligent misrepresentation claims to go forward against a nonmanufacturer — the publisher of Good Housekeeping magazine, which had given the shoes its renowned seal of approval. (Id. at p. 683.) This seal appeared not only in the pages of its own magazine, but was used by the shoe manufacturer in its advertising as well as on the product and its packaging. (Ibid.) The court acknowledged that the defendant publisher was neither the seller nor the manufacturer of the shoes, but nonetheless recognized a duty of care because of the allegations that the publisher “held itself out as a disinterested third party which had examined the shoes, found them satisfactory, and gave its endorsement”; and the plaintiff reasonably relied on the endorsement and “purchased the shoes because of it.” (Id. at pp. 686, 683.) As to the plaintiff’s claim under strict liability, however, the court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal — declining to extend strict liability “to a general endorser who makes no representation it has examined or tested each item marketed.” (Id. at p. 688; see also Conte, 168 Cal.App.4th at pp. 101-102 [similarly distinguishing between strict liability and negligent misrepresentation theories].)

Novartis suggests that we recently conflated strict liability and negligence in Webb v. Special Electric Co., Inc. (2016) 63 Cal.4th 167 when we observed that "there is little functional difference between the two theories in the failure to warn context." (Id. at p. 187.) Not so. Webb’s observation was merely that the sophisticated user and sophisticated intermediary defenses applied to both theories of liability. (Ibid.) We did not categorically alter our longstanding recognition that “California law recognizes the differences between negligence and strict liability causes of action.” (Johnson v. American Standard , Inc. (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 56, 71; see Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., Inc. (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 1220, 1239 ["Negligence and strict products liability are separate and distinct bases for liability that do not automatically collapse into each other because the plaintiff might allege both when a product warning contributes to her injury"].)

We likewise discount decisions from those jurisdictions that differ from California by categorically excluding from liability certain defendants (see, e.g., Huck v. Wyeth, Inc., 850 N.W.2d at p. 371 (plur. opn. of Waterman, J.) [“the tort of negligent misrepresentation does not apply to sellers of products but rather is limited to those in the business or profession of supplying information for the guidance of others”]) or certain injuries (see, e.g., Flynn v. American Home Products Corp. (Minn.Ct.App. 2001) 627 N.W.2d 342, 351 [“the Minnesota Supreme Court has recognized negligent misrepresentation involving damages only for pecuniary loss, and has expressly declined to recognize the tort of negligent misrepresentation involving the risk of physical harm”]) from the tort of negligent misrepresentation. And we find unhelpful the views of those jurisdictions that (federal courts predict) will recharacterize under their product liability act or similar rule all claims against a product manufacturer, no matter the theory, as product liability actions, which can be asserted only against the manufacturer of the product. (See, e.g., Germain, 756 F.3d at pp. 941-954 [construing the laws of Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia]; Phelps v. Wyeth, Inc. (D.Or. 2012) 857 F.Supp.2d 1114, 1121 [Oregon law]; Stanley v. Wyeth, Inc. (La.Ct.App. 2008) 991 So.2d 31, 33-34 [noting the “numerous cases where the negligent misrepresentation claims were . . . preempted by . . . a state’s enactment of products liability law”].)

We find that brand-name drug manufacturers have a duty to use ordinary care in warning about the safety risks of their drugs, regardless of whether the injured party (in reliance on the brand-name manufacturer’s warning) was dispensed the brand-name or generic version of the drug. We also conclude that a brand-name manufacturer’s sale of the rights to a drug does not, as a matter of law, terminate its liability for injuries foreseeably and proximately caused by deficiencies present in the warning label prior to the sale.

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Responsabilité civile et contractuelle (droit californien), déclaration inexacte ("misrepresentation") :

En droit californien, une action en dommages-intérêts fondée sur une déclaration inexacte peut être déposée contre d'autres défendeurs que le seul fabricant du produit. Par exemple, dans une procédure où le demandeur soutenait que des chaussures lui avaient causé un préjudice corporel, la cour a accepté comme défendeur un magazine très connu qui avait fait l'éloge de ces chaussures dans l'un de ses articles. La cour a reconnu que le magazine n'était ni le fabricant ni le vendeur des chaussures, mais qu'il était tout de même tenu par un devoir de diligence du fait qu'il s'était présenté comme une tierce partie désintéressée qui avait examiné les chaussures, les avait jugées satisfaisantes, et en avait fait ainsi la promotion. En outre, le demandeur s'était raisonnablement fié à dite promotion, et, du fait de celle-ci, avait acheté les chaussures. Une telle action reste une action en responsabilité pour faute, et non une action en responsabilité causale : le magazine n'a pas suggéré qu'il avait examiné ou testé chacune des chaussures mises sur le marché.

La responsabilité pour faute ("negligence") doit toujours être distinguée des cas de responsabilité objective ("strict liability"), même si un demandeur qui agit en responsabilité du fait des produits invoque ces deux notions juridiques.

La Cour rejette par ailleurs la jurisprudence d'autres états qui exclut catégoriquement la responsabilité pour déclaration inexacte de certains défendeurs (est citée comme exemple une décision d'un autre état qui exclut le vendeur des défendeurs possibles dans le cadre d'une action en responsabilité pour faute du fait d'une déclaration inexacte, et qui ne retient comme défendeurs possibles que ceux dont le métier en lui-même consiste à donner des informations) ou qui limites dite responsabilité à certains types de dommages (par exemple la jurisprudence de certains autres états qui limite au dommage matériel la responsabilité pour déclaration inexacte, et la prohibe s'agissant du préjudice corporel).

Dans la présente espèce, la Cour juge que le fabricant d'un produit pharmaceutique doit aviser des risques de ses produits. Il peut être recherché à cet égard en responsabilité même par un demandeur à qui le générique a été prescrit. Ce devoir d'avis des risques se prolonge même si le fabricant cède ses droits sur le produit.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Off-label use: Physicians:

Physicians may, in their professional judgment, prescribe a drug for a purpose other than that for which it has been approved by the FDA. (Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Leg. Com. (2001) 531 U.S. 341, 351, fn. 5 [“‘Off-label use is widespread in the medical community’”].)

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

La prescription "off-label" d'un produit pharmaceutique est admise.

T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898

Diversity jurisdiction:

(…) Federal court under diversity jurisdiction. Federal courts sitting in diversity are “extremely cautious” about recognizing innovative theories under state law (Combs v. Int’l Ins. Co. (6th Cir. 2004) 354 F.3d 568, 578) and are bound to “apply the applicable state law as it now exists.” (Foster, 29 F.3d at p. 171; see generally Gluck, Intersystemic Statutory Interpretation: Methodology as “Law” and the Erie Doctrine (2011) 120 Yale L.J. 1898, 1939 [federal courts “pick the narrowest possible answer, usually the one that does the least to change the status quo, regardless of its predictions of what the state court would do”].)

Secondary sources: Gluck, Intersystemic Statutory Interpretation: Methodology as “Law” and the Erie Doctrine (2011) 120 Yale L.J. 1898, 1939.

(Cal. S.C., Dec. 21, 2017, T.H. v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, S233898).

Quand elles statuent en diversité, les cours fédérales veilleront à appliquer le droit des états dans sa teneur objective, sans chercher à créer de nouvelles théories juridiques.