Apple Consumer Lawsuit Thrown Out After Judge Rules Plaintiffs Failed To Prove ‘Economic Injury’

  @AmruthaGayathri on November 28 2013 3:33 AM
iPad mini
A member of the media holds the new iPad mini during an Apple event in San Francisco, California on Oct. 22, 2013. Reuters/Robert Galbraith

A consumer lawsuit against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), claiming that the company breached its privacy policy, was thrown out on grounds that the plaintiffs failed to prove they incurred any harm by relying on the company’s alleged misrepresentation.

The lawsuit filed in 2011 alleged that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple collected information on the four plaintiffs' locations through their iPhones and iPads, despite the devices’ geo-location feature having been turned off. But, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, Calif., said there was no proof of “economic injury as a result” of Apple’s policy.

They “failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact concerning actual reliance,” Koh wrote in a ruling issued on Nov. 25, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. She acknowledged that the plaintiffs provided proof to support their claims, but said the case was weakened because some of their statements were contradictory.

The ruling in favor of Apple came a week after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) agreed to pay $17 million to settle a dispute with 37 states and the District of Columbia after the Mountain View, Calif.-based company was found to dodge privacy settings on Apple’s Safari browser and stored web tracking “cookies” on the browser, circumventing default privacy settings.

“By tracking millions of people without their knowledge, Google violated not only their privacy, but also their trust,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement at the time.

However, in October, a Delaware judge had dismissed a class-action lawsuit against Google over a similar complaint, saying the plaintiffs could not prove that they suffered any harm due to Google’s actions, or convince the judge that their legal rights were violated.

In August 2012, Google had agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, for slipping cookies into Apple's Safari browser.

“No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place,” Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC had said at the time, in a statement announcing the settlement.

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