A federal district court in the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss a putative class action where the plaintiff claimed that the defendant violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”) § 631 for using a third-party chat feature on its website. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for lack of Article III standing but granted leave to amend.
The plaintiff in Valenzuela v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. et al, 3:22-cv-09042, allegedly visited Keurig’s website using a smart phone and conducted a brief conversation through the website’s chat feature. According to the plaintiff, the chat was intercepted by a third-party service provider without plaintiff’s consent. After two prior amendments, the plaintiff filed another amended complaint attempting to provide more detail about their alleged privacy injury and reasserting the claim under CIPA § 631. Keurig filed a motion to dismiss, which the court granted.
Plaintiff alleged in their amended complaint that their harm was having an “unannounced second auditor” intercept their chat communications. They attempted to analogize their harm to “intrusion upon seclusion” under California common law. The court rejected this analogy, finding that the plaintiff failed to allege they had any “reasonable expectation of privacy” over the contents of their chats with Keurig because they had “not alleged the contents of those chats contained any private information.”
Moreover, because the plaintiff failed to allege the contents of their chat, the court determined the plaintiff had identified only “a bare procedural violation, divorced from any concrete harm.” Without more facts to support an inference that Keurig engaged in any kind of substantive privacy violation, the plaintiff failed to satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement for Article III standing.