LOS ANGELES, CA – On June 24, 2021, U.S. District Judge Michael F. Fitzgerald denied Ring’s motion to compel arbitration in In Re: Ring LLC Privacy Litigation for 13 of the Plaintiffs whose Ring devices were hacked, allowing their claims to continue in federal court.
The lawsuit was brought after several families’ homes were hacked via Ring’s security cameras. Ring’s negligence and inadequate security measures allowed these hackers to harass and threaten the victims in their own home, including shouting violent threats and racial slurs at Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs allege that Ring violated consumer protection and privacy laws, alongside claims for negligence, breach of implied contract, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and unjust enrichment because Ring’s in-home security devices left them and their families vulnerable to malicious hackers.
Ring argued that all Plaintiffs were bound by its arbitration clause when they created a Ring account, including 12 minor children and an elderly woman living in a nursing home who did not purchase or set up Ring accounts. According to Ring, the non-purchaser Plaintiffs were bound by the Terms as “Authorized Users.” The Court disagreed and stated that “extending Ring’s definition of Authorized User to anyone who is knowingly or unknowingly surveilled by a Ring device—which is essentially what Ring proposes—would leave to absurd and unjust results.”
The Court also rejected Ring’s argument that the Plaintiffs who did purchase the Ring devices had the implied authority to contract on behalf of their children and an elder parent. The Court was “unconvinced that the authority to contract for goods beyond necessities like education or medical care is implicit in a parent or guardian’s duty to provide for the care of her child or dependent.”
The Court ruled, on the other hand, that the Plaintiffs who purchased and made a Ring account on Ring’s App or Website were on inquiry notice of Ring’s arbitration clause despite there being no evidence that they had actual knowledge of the arbitration clause. Accordingly, the Court granted the motion to compel arbitration as to the purchasing Plaintiffs but denied the motion as the minor children and elder parent who did not purchase the devices.
“It is unfortunate that some plaintiffs will be denied their constitutional right to a jury trial. Too often consumers’ privacy and security are left in the hands of large corporations with unfair arbitration provisions,” said Hassan Zavareei of Tycko & Zavareei, lead interim class counsel. “But for the Plaintiffs who will get to see their day in court, Judge Fitzgerald’s order is a great victory and we look forward to proving Ring’s violations to a jury after the class is certified.”
The case is In Re Ring Privacy Litigation, Case No. CV 19-10899-MWF (RAOx). On February 11, 2020, the Court consolidated numerous related cases into this putative class action and Tycko & Zavareei LLP, Robinson Calcagnie, Inc, and Adhoot & Wolfson, PC were appointed Interim Co-Lead Counsel for Plaintiffs and the Class.
About Tycko & Zavareei LLP
Tycko & Zavareei LLP was founded in 2002 by Jonathan Tycko and Hassan Zavareei, experienced practitioners intent on building a new kind of practice – a private law firm with top-tier attorneys serving the public interest. The Firm’s partners and associates are graduates from the nation’s finest colleges and law schools, having served in prestigious clerkships, critical government positions, the military, the public interest sector, or prestigious law firms around the nation. With offices in Washington, DC, as well as Oakland and Los Angeles, California, Tycko & Zavareei LLP lawyers routinely handle large and complex matters for individuals fighting for their civil rights, consumers seeking redress for unfair business practices, whistleblowers exposing fraud and corruption, tenants’ associations battling to preserve decent and affordable housing, and non-profit entities and businesses facing difficult litigation. More information is available at https://www.tzlegal.com.
Bill Sklar for Tycko & Zavareei LLP