Glenn G. Lammi is clearly not a fan of the type of class action lawsuits we’ve been seeing on a weekly basis:
The fundamental legal principle that only those who have been “harmed” can sue in U.S. courts is being put to the test by the ever-evolving, subjective concept of “privacy” in the equally organic online world.
U.S. Supreme Court rulings on so-called Article III standing reflect that a harm must be 1) concrete, particularized, actual, and imminent; 2) fairly traceable to defendant’s actions; and 3) likely redressed by a favorable decision. If a party fails to meet this test, the court will dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers, eager to add online privacy “violations” to their lucrative book of business, have been advancing broad theories of injury through class action lawsuits. Their claims of harm routinely center around either emotional or economic injury. Those efforts so far, with a few exceptions, have met resistance from federal judges.
Read more on Forbes.
I tend to agree with Glenn and think that most of these lawsuits are misplaced. If we want to discourage certain behavior, then we either withhold our business, try to effect change, or punt to the legislature. While the costs of litigation might dissuade businesses from engaging in certain conduct, for monster companies like Facebook, it just becomes part of the cost of doing business. In the meantime, we tend to clog up courts, and the only ones who make any money are the lawyers.