Privacy

Chewy.com Faces $2,500 per Violation in Privacy Lawsuit

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Chewy.com Faces $2,500 per Violation in Privacy Lawsuit

In a recent class action lawsuit filed in the state of California, plaintiff Gabriela Hernandez alleges that Chewy.com, an online retailer of pet food and other pet-related products, has violated the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The complaint claims that Chewy.com knowingly disclosed customers' personally identifiable information (PII) to Google without their consent and failed to provide users with the right to access, delete, or opt out of selling their personal information.

What is the Video Privacy Protection Act?

The Video Privacy Protection Act was enacted by Congress in 1988 as a response to concerns about protecting consumer privacy. It prohibits video tape service providers from knowingly disclosing PII about consumers without their informed consent. The VPPA applies not only to traditional video rental stores but also extends its reach to online streaming services and retailers offering video content.

Under the VPPA, if a service provider is found guilty of violating its provisions, they may be held liable for statutory damages amounting up to $2,500 per violation.

How does California Consumer Privacy Act come into play?

The California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect on January 1st , 2020, grants Californian residents certain rights regarding their personal information collected by businesses. These rights include accessing one's data held by companies; requesting deletion or correction of inaccurate data; and opting out of the sale or sharing of personal information with third parties.

In this case, the plaintiff alleges that Chewy.com has violated the CCPA by not providing users with these rights. If proven, Chewy.com could face significant penalties under the CCPA, including fines and potential injunctions to prevent future violations.

What are the specific allegations against Chewy.com?

The complaint filed against Chewy.com contains several allegations related to its purported violations of both VPPA and CCPA. The plaintiff claims that when users play videos on Chewy's website, their PII is collected without consent, including information such as titles watched, cookies, visitor's name, address and location. This data is then allegedly disclosed to Google in violation of VPPA provisions.

Furthermore, it is alleged that Chewy.com fails to comply with CCPA requirements by not providing users with proper notice about their rights under this law or offering them options to access, delete or opt-out from selling their personal information. These combined allegations form the basis for this class action lawsuit seeking damages and injunctive relief against Chewy.com.

Who are considered class members in this case?

In a class action lawsuit like this one, class members are typically individuals who share similar circumstances or have been similarly affected by a defendant's alleged actions. In this case against Chewy.com, class members include individuals who used the website to play videos and had their PII collected and disclosed by the defendant without consent.

The exact number of potential class members remains unknown at present; however, it is likely that they span across different states within the U.S., given that no specific criteria for inclusion have been outlined in court documents other than being affected by alleged actions attributed to Chewy.com .

What damages are being sought by the plaintiff?

The plaintiff, Gabriela Hernandez, is seeking judgment against Chewy.com on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated individuals. In the complaint, she requests class certification orders and relief available under both VPPA and CCPA. This includes statutory damages of up to $2,500 per violation under VPPA provisions as well as any additional punitive damages or attorneys' fees that may be deemed appropriate.

While the exact dollar amount sought in this lawsuit has not been disclosed, it is likely to be at least five million dollars given the potential size of the class and possible extent of alleged violations by Chewy.com.

What could be next for this case?

As this case moves forward through legal proceedings, several steps may unfold. First, a judge will need to determine whether or not to grant class certification for the plaintiffs. If granted, this would allow all affected individuals to collectively pursue their claims against Chewy.com.

Next, both parties will engage in discovery processes where they exchange relevant evidence and information related to their respective claims and defenses. Settlement negotiations may also take place during this time as both sides assess potential outcomes based on available evidence.

If no settlement is reached, a trial would ensue where each side presents its case before a judge or jury who ultimately decides on liability issues as well as any awards for damages or injunctive relief. It remains uncertain how long these processes might take; however, it is clear that this lawsuit raises important questions about consumer privacy rights in an increasingly digital age.

Case Facts

  • Status:
    Lawsuit Filed
  • Case Number:
    23STCV12748
  • Filing Date:
    June 5, 2023
  • Jurisdiction:
    Los Angeles County Superior Courts
  • State:
    California
  • Court:
    Spring Street Courthouse
  • Plaintiff:
    Gabriela Hernandez
  • Defendant:
    Chewy.com
  • Plaintiff Firm:
    Scott J. Ferrell, APC.
  • Defendant Firm:
  • Claims Administrator:
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Will Gendron
Will Gendron
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