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November 2023

Volkswagen Group of America Victorious in Class Action Appeal

United States - Washington

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. secured a complete victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit when the court unanimously affirmed the district court’s ruling in Volkswagen’s favor, dismissing the plaintiffs’ class action complaint for failure to state a claim. Faegre Drinker represented Volkswagen in the appeal where plaintiffs alleged that Volkswagen violated the Washington Privacy Act by manufacturing cars with on-board infotainment systems that recorded text messages and call logs from users’ cellphones. 

The district court dismissed the complaint because it did not allege that Volkswagen or anyone else accessed the plaintiffs’ information and therefore failed to allege an injury to the plaintiffs’ person, reputation or business, as required by the Washington Privacy Act. The plaintiffs appealed and argued that if there was no injury under the Washington Privacy Act, the federal courts lacked Article III standing to hear the case. The Ninth Circuit sided with Volkswagen, holding that Article III jurisdiction was supported by the alleged privacy violation but plaintiffs had not alleged a sufficient injury under the Washington Privacy Act. In addition to the Ninth Circuit’s unanimous affirmation, the court also affirmed the dismissal of several related cases against other automobile manufacturers involving the same issue.

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