John Nadolenco is an experienced civil litigator whose practice is focused on class-action defense, including defending consumer class actions, employment class actions, and securities and derivative cases. Additionally, John also has experience advising clients on privacy issues and defending clients in privacy-related cases. John served as co-editor of Mayer Brown’s The Social Media Revolution: A Legal Handbook.
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The Supreme Court today issued its decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (pdf), a closely-watched case presenting the question whether Article III’s “injury-in-fact” requirement for standing to sue in federal court may be satisfied by alleging a statutory violation without any accompanying real world injury.

The Court held that a plaintiff must allege “concrete” harm—which it described as harm that is “real”—to have standing to sue, and that the existence of a private right of action under a federal statute does not automatically suffice to meet the “real” harm standard. The decision is likely to have a meaningful impact on class action litigation based on alleged statutory violations. Justice Alito authored the opinion for the Court, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, and Kagan. (We and our colleagues represented Spokeo before the Supreme Court.)


Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds in Spokeo that Plaintiffs Must Show “Real” Harm to Have Standing to Sue for Statutory Damages

Under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, a plaintiff must allege that he or she has suffered an “injury-in-fact” to establish standing to sue in federal court. Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339, to decide whether Congress may confer Article III standing by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute, even though the plaintiff has not suffered any concrete harm.

The Court’s resolution of this question in Spokeo could affect a number of different types of class actions that have been instituted in
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins And Decide Whether Plaintiffs Who Have Suffered No Concrete Harm Nonetheless Have Article III Standing To Sue In Federal Court

The Ninth Circuit recently clarified the circumstances in which a plaintiff who settles his or her individual claims can appeal the denial of class certification of related claims. In Campion v. Old Republic Protection Company (pdf), the Ninth Circuit dismissed a class certification appeal as moot because the plaintiff had settled his individual claims. The court explained that a settling plaintiff must retain a personal, “financial” stake in litigation in order to appeal the denial of class certification—“the theoretical interest akin to a private attorney general” will not suffice.

The leading Ninth Circuit case on post-settlement class-certification appeals is Narouz
Continue Reading Plaintiffs Who Settle Individual Claims Can’t Appeal Class Claims in the Ninth Circuit Unless They Retain a “Financial Interest” in the Case

Since 2006, companies based outside California have been alert to the potential burdens of class actions under California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”), Cal. Penal Code § 630 et seq. The laws of most states, as well as federal law, allow telephone calls to be recorded with the consent of one party to the call. Accordingly, companies in those states usually can record customer service calls for quality-assurance purposes without the need to procure the customer’s consent because the call-center employee, as a party to the call, can consent to the recording. California, however, is one of 12 states that
Continue Reading What’s Going On With Class Actions Alleging That Businesses That Record Customer-Service Calls Are Violating California’s Invasion of Privacy Act?

The plaintiffs’ bar continues to march forward in bringing privacy-related class actions. As we’ve written before, companies have often been able to defeat such lawsuits at the pleading stage when plaintiffs cannot allege that they suffered a harm that was concrete or cognizable. But that trend has not been universal: In a recent case involving Apple, the federal court for the Northern District of California refused to dismiss the majority of claims, in large measure because the plaintiff alleged that she relied on the company’s online representations concerning the privacy and security of personal information.

In Pirozzi v. Apple,
Continue Reading App Store Privacy Class Action Survives Apple’s Motion to Dismiss In Light Of Online Representations

When a company’s computer systems are raided by hackers, all too often it must brace itself for being victimized a second time by the class action bar. Plaintiffs frequently target such companies for class actions on behalf of the consumers whose data might have been exposed as a result of the potential data breach.
The fact that the consumers rarely have experienced any real harm can be the Achilles’ heel of these data-breach class actions. “World of Warcraft” creator Blizzard Entertainment Inc. was able to capitalize on this vulnerability when a court dismissed most of a putative class action against
Continue Reading Failure to Allege Harm Narrows Data-Breach Suit

A key question in many privacy class actions is whether the plaintiff has suffered an injury sufficient to confer Article III standing. Quite a number of these actions have been dismissed for lack of standing. The plaintiffs’ bar therefore has been brainstorming new theories of injury in the hope that one of them will be deemed sufficient to allow the case to remain in court (and open the door to expensive discovery). A recent order by Judge White of the Northern District of California in Yunker v. Pandora Media, Inc. addresses—and rejects—some of these theories.

The lawsuit involves Pandora’s mobile
Continue Reading Do Plaintiffs Have Standing To Sue Over Alleged Reduction In The Value Of Their Personal Data?

In recent months, we have seen growing interest in potential privacy issues in the context of mobile applications. Earlier this month, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released an official report—“Privacy On the Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem”—with new privacy recommendations for the mobile industry. The report, while providing a “template” for best practices, suggests that app manufacturers take steps beyond what is required under current law. Please take a look at our assessment of the report—and the potential that it will be used by plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking a new source for privacy class actions.
Continue Reading Privacy and Mobile Apps: The California AG Speaks Out

Class actions alleging that employers’ meal-break policies violate California law have long been a favorite of the plaintiffs’ bar.  Earlier this year, however, the California Supreme Court handed employers a victory in Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (Cal. 2012), holding that the obligation under the California Labor Code to provide employees with meal periods does not require the employer to affirmatively “ensure” that meal periods are actually taken.  In other words, an employer satisfactorily “provides” meal breaks if it relieves employees of their duties, relinquishes control over their activities, and permits them a reasonable
Continue Reading Brinker’s Impact on Certification of Meal-Break Class Actions in California