Privacy Suit Against|Apple Holds Strong

     (CN) – Apple cannot dismiss a class action alleging that it let third parties upload user information from applications on their mobile devices, a federal judge ruled.
     Lead plaintiff Maria Pirozzi filed the federal complaint over a year ago in San Francisco, claiming Apple failed to prevent third-party software applications distributed through its online App Store from uploading user information off mobile devices without the permission of their owners.
     The court dismissed Pirozzi’s first amended complaint without prejudice in December 2012. Her second amended complaint consists of five claims against Apple, including negligent misrepresentation and violations of the California Unfair Competition Law (UCL), its False and Misleading Advertising Law (FAL), and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).
     Apple moved to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff lacks Article III standing and statutory standing, and that she failed to plead fraud with particularity or to state a claim.
     U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar dismissed only a claim for unjust enrichment Monday.
     As for Apple’s claim concerning the alleged lack of Article III standing, Tigar said Pirozzi was able to make a “causal connection” between statements Apple made about its iPhone and the safety of its apps and her loss.
     “Plaintiff’s alleged loss is clear: Apple claimed that apps could not access data from other apps, and, according to the second amended complaint, in actuality, they can and have. Those allegations are enough to establish Article III standing,” the 17-page opinion states.
     Tigar dismissed Apple’s statutory standing argument for the same reason: that the plaintiff can identify a clear loss.
     “Plaintiff argues that she overpaid for her iPhone as a result of Apple’s alleged misrepresentations,” he wrote. “That is an allegation of economic injury synonymous with ‘lost money’ sufficient to satisfy the standing requirements for the UCL, CLRA and FAL claims.”
     The fraudulent, unfair and unlawful prongs of Pirozzi’s UCL claim survive because she relied on statements on Apple’s website that allegedly said “iOS 4 is highly secure from the moment you turn on you iPhone. All apps run in a safe environment, so a website or app can’t access data from other apps,” according to the ruling.
     Pirozzi’s claim for unjust enrichment, however, is dismissed by default.
     Quoting the 9th Circuit’s 2008 decision in Myers-Armstrong v. Actavis Totowa, Tigar said, “Apple is correct that in California ‘there is no cause of action for unjust enrichment. Rather, unjust enrichment is a basis for obtaining restitution based on quasi-contract or imposition of a constructive trust.’ Additionally, restitution is already a remedy for Pirozzi’s claims under the UCL. Because plaintiffs cannot cure this defect by amendment, that claim is dismissed without leave to amend.”

%d bloggers like this: