Qurate Retail Defeats CIPA Wiretapping Claims

On February 13, 2023, on behalf of Qurate Retail, Inc., the ultimate parent company of Cinmar LLC, Skadden secured a decisive win in Licea et al. v. Cinmar, LLC, before Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California. The plaintiffs alleged that Cinmar’s online chat feature on frontgate.com violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) by “recording” their written chat conversations. Judge Fitzgerald granted Cinmar’s motion to dismiss the California Penal Code Section 631 claim because the plaintiffs failed to overcome the party exemption to the statute (because a party can’t eavesdrop on its own conversation) or allege a communication was intercepted in transit, as the law required. The court also dismissed with prejudice the plaintiffs’ Section 632.7 claim because they did not and could not allege there was communication between two telephones as defined in the statute, or that Section 632.7 extends to internet communications.