Hepting et al v. AT&T Corp. et al

Filing 306

Memorandum in Opposition HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED filed byGregory Hicks, Erik Knutzen, Tash Hepting, Carolyn Jewel. (Scarlett, Shana) (Filed on 7/14/2006)

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Hepting et al v. AT&T Corp. et al Doc. 306 1 ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION CINDY A. COHN (145997) 2 cindy@eff.org LEE TIEN (148216) 3 tien@eff.org KURT OPSAHL (191303) 4 kurt@eff.org KEVIN S. BANKSTON (217026) 5 bankston@eff.org CORYNNE MCSHERRY (221504) 6 corynne@eff.org JAMES S. TYRE (083117) 7 jstyre@eff.org 454 Shotwell Street 8 San Francisco, CA 94110 Telephone: 415/436-9333 9 415/436-9993 (fax) 10 Attorneys for Plaintiffs 11 [Additional counsel appear on signature page.] 12 13 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA No. C-06-00672-VRW CLASS ACTION HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED 14 TASH HEPTING, GREGORY HICKS, ) CAROLYN JEWEL and ERIK KNUTZEN, on ) 15 Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly ) Situated, ) 16 ) Plaintiffs, ) 17 ) vs. ) 18 ) AT&T CORP., et al. ) 19 ) Defendants. ) 20 ) 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Dockets.Justia.com 1 Hepting plaintiffs file this memorandum in opposition to the Administrative Motion to 2 Consider Whether Cases Should be Related ("Admin. Motion"), filed by plaintiffs in Spielfogel3 Landis v. MCI, LLC, Case No. C-06-4221 MJJ (filed July 7, 2006).1 4 I. 5 SPIELFOGEL-LANDIS IS NOT A RELATED ACTION Under Local Rule 3-12(a)(1), a related action should "concern substantially the same parties, 6 property, transaction or event." Here, because the Spielfogel-Landis action does not concern the 7 same parties, it seems unlikely that relating the cases will result in any judicial efficiency. 8 First, the Spielfogel-Landis plaintiff wrongly asserts that "[t]his Court previously related 9 Riordan, et al. v. Verizon Communications, Inc., Case No. C-06-3574-VRW . . . to Hepting." 10 Admin. Motion at 2. This is not correct. On June 20, 2006, this Court found that Campbell, et al. v. 11 AT&T Communications of California, Case No. 06-3596-VRW, was related to the Hepting action. 12 Both of these cases involve similar corporate defendants. Likewise, this Court issued an order on 13 July 5, 2006 relating the Riordan and Campbell actions. This Court has not, however, issued an 14 order relating the Riordan and Hepting actions, and indeed, the pending motions to stay and motions 15 for remand to state court filed in the Riordan action are not being served or filed in the Hepting 16 action. 17 Second, regardless of superficial similarities, significant factual differences among the 18 Hepting and Spielfogel-Landis cases militate against coordination. Different plaintiffs have filed the 19 various cases on behalf of different classes, against different defendants, asserting a variety of claims 20 that have different factual predicates. What AT&T Corp. and AT&T Inc. (collectively "AT&T") did 21 with its customers' communications has no bearing on, and cannot establish liability for, the claims 22 that MCI, LLC ("MCI") customers have filed against MCI. And proof that MCI did or did not 23 violate their own customers' privacy rights will neither establish nor undermine the claims by AT&T 24 customers in the Hepting action. Each company has separate technical infrastructures for carrying 25 1 Although in filing the Administrative Motion to Consider Whether Cases Should be Related, 26 the PACER notification suggested that the Hepting plaintiffs were being represented by Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, and attorney Eric Fastiff from this firm, in fact the Hepting plaintiffs 27 did not participate or agree to the filing of this motion. 28 HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED - C-06-00672-VRW -1- 1 and storing telephone and Internet traffic, as well as complex and distinct histories of mergers and 2 acquisitions which will be relevant to the particular claims made against each. Because the cases 3 present different plaintiffs, different defendants and will be proved with different facts and different 4 defenses unique to each defendant, they should not be considered related. See, e.g., In re Not-For5 Profit Hospitals/Uninsured Patients Litig., 341 F. Supp. 2d 1354, 1356 (J.P.M.L. 2004) (declining to 6 coordinate because there was insufficient commonality of facts among cases with different 7 defendants). 8 Nor will the defenses presented involve common facts. For instance, while AT&T has hinted 9 that it may have some sort of certification from the government, and even assuming arguendo that 10 such a certification exists and could be held legally sufficient to protect AT&T from liability for its 11 actions, there is no basis for assuming that any disclosure of customer information by MCI operated 12 under the same certification.2 Each defendant will have to present its own evidence of whatever 13 authorization it claims to have for whatever actions it is or has been taking. 14 II. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 2 This aware that plaintiffs strongly dispute whether any sort of legal 27 authorization Court is well from the government could be legally sufficient to protect AT&T here. or certification 28 TAG-ALONG ACTIONS NECESSITATE THE DESIGNATION OF INTERIM CLASS COUNSEL Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, counsel representing the plaintiff in the Spielfogel- Landis action, are the same counsel representing plaintiffs in the Roe action. This tag-along filing, coming nearly six months after the Hepting case was originally filed and over three weeks after this Court heard argument on three motions to dismiss, demonstrates the need for designating interim class counsel. On June 14, 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") filed an Administrative Motion for Designation of Interim Class Counsel. Designating interim class counsel is appropriate where "overlapping, duplicative, or competing class suits are pending before a court, so that appointment of interim counsel is necessary to protect the interests of class members." Donaldson v. Pharmacia Pension Plan, Case No. 06-3-GPM, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28607, at **2-3; 2006 WL HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED - C-06-00672-VRW -2- 1 1308582 (S.D. Ill. May 10 2006). The commentary to Rule 23 anticipated that when duplicative 2 suits are filed, interim counsel can ensure that someone "prepare[s] for the certification decision" 3 and "make[s] or respond[s] to motions before certification." Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(g) advisory 4 committee's note. 5 Here, motions to dismiss the Hepting complaint (briefed and argued by the Hepting 6 plaintiffs) are currently awaiting ruling by this Court. The multi-district litigation panel will be 7 meeting on July 27, 2006, to consider consolidation of all of these cases, but a decision is not 8 expected until several weeks thereafter. To prevent duplicative motions and unnecessary work by 9 plaintiffs' counsel, designating interim class counsel is appropriate at this time. 10 III. 11 CONCLUSION For the above reasons Hepting plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court deny Spielfogel- 12 Landis plaintiff's Administrative Motion to Consider Whether Cases Should be Related, and 13 respectfully request that the Court enter the [Proposed] Case Management Order Number 1, 14 submitted to the Court on June 14, 2006. 15 DATED: July 14, 2006 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 /s/ Cindy A. Cohn CINDY A. COHN 454 Shotwell Street San Francisco, CA 94110 Telephone: 415/436-9333 415/436-9993 (fax) TRABER & VOORHEES BERT VOORHEES THERESA M. TRABER 128 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Suite 204 Pasadena, CA 91103 Telephone: 626/585-9611 626/577-7079 (fax) HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED - C-06-00672-VRW -3Respectfully submitted, ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION CINDY A. COHN LEE TIEN KURT OPSAHL KEVIN S. BANKSTON CORYNNE MCSHERRY JAMES S. TYRE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 LERACH COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP REED R. KATHREIN JEFF D. FRIEDMAN SHANA E. SCARLETT MARIA V. MORRIS 100 Pine Street, Suite 2600 San Francisco, CA 94111 Telephone: 415/288-4545 415/288-4534 (fax) LERACH COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP ERIC ALAN ISAACSON 655 West Broadway, Suite 1900 San Diego, CA 92101 Telephone: 619/231-1058 619/231-7423 (fax) LAW OFFICE OF RICHARD R. WIEBE RICHARD R. WIEBE 425 California Street, Suite 2025 San Francisco, CA 94104 Telephone: 415/433-3200 415/433-6382 (fax) HELLER EHRMAN LLP ROBERT D. FRAM MICHAEL M. MARKMAN 333 Bush Street, Suite 3100 San Francisco, CA 94104-2878 Telephone: 415/772-6000 415/772-6268 (fax) Attorneys for Plaintiffs I, Shana E. Scarlett, am the ECF User whose ID and password are being used to file this HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED. In compliance with General Order 45, X.B., I hereby attest that Cindy A. Cohn has concurred in this filing. W:\AT&T Privacy\mot00032885.doc HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED - C-06-00672-VRW -4- 1 2 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that on July 14, 2006, I electronically filed the foregoing with the Clerk of 3 the Court using the CM/ECF system which will send notification of such filing to the e-mail 4 addresses denoted on the attached Electronic Mail Notice List, and I hereby certify that I have 5 mailed the foregoing document or paper via the United States Postal Service to the non-CM/ECF 6 participants indicated on the attached Manual Notice List. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 s/ Shana E. Scarlett SHANA E. SCARLETT LERACH COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP 100 Pine Street, 26th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 Telephone: 415/288-4545 415/288-4534 (fax) E-mail:ShanaS@lerachlaw.com Mailing Information for a Case 3:06-cv-00672-VRW Electronic Mail Notice List The following are those who are currently on the list to receive e-mail notices for this case. Timothy L. Alger timalger@quinnemanuel.com albertvillamil@quinnemanuel.com Kevin Stuart Bankston bankston@eff.org Bradford Allan Berenson bberenson@sidley.com vshort@sidley.com James J. Brosnahan jbrosnahan@mofo.com bkeaton@mofo.com Cindy Ann Cohn cindy@eff.org barak@eff.org Anthony Joseph Coppolino tony.coppolino@usdoj.gov Elena Maria DiMuzio Elena.DiMuzio@hellerehrman.com Bruce A. Ericson bruce.ericson@pillsburylaw.com Eric B. Fastiff efastiff@lchb.com Robert D. Fram rfram@hewm.com mawilliams@hewm.com;kim.sydorak@hellerehrman.com Jeff D Friedman JFriedman@lerachlaw.com Jennifer Stisa Granick JENNIFER@LAW.STANFORD.EDU Terry Gross terry@grossbelsky.com Barry R. Himmelstein bhimmelstein@lchb.com Eric A. Isaacson erici@lerachlaw.com Reed R. Kathrein reedk@lerachlaw.com e_file_sd@lerachlaw.com;e_file_sf@lerachlaw.com Michael M. Markman mmarkman@hewm.com Brian Martinez brianmartinez@mofo.com Edward Robert McNicholas emcnicholas@sidley.com vshort@sidley.com Corynne McSherry corynne@eff.org Maria V. Morris mariam@lerachlaw.com e_file_sf@lerachlaw.com Roger R. Myers roger.myers@hro.com Karl Olson ko@lrolaw.com amw@lrolaw.com,slighthill@gmail.com,elc@lrolaw.com Kurt Opsahl kurt@eff.org Renee Sharon Orleans renee.orleans@usdoj.gov Laurence F. Pulgram lpulgram@fenwick.com mburt@fenwick.com Shana Eve Scarlett shanas@lerachlaw.com e_file_sd@lerachlaw.com;e_file_sf@lerachlaw.com Jacob R. Sorensen jake.sorensen@pillsburylaw.com Andrew H Tannenbaum andrew.tannenbaum@usdoj.gov Tze Lee Tien tien@eff.org aram@eff.org;vkhall@aol.com Theresa M. Traber, Esq tmt@tvlegal.com James Samuel Tyre jstyre@jstyre.com jstyre@eff.org Marc Van Der Hout ndca@vblaw.com Bert Voorhees bv@tvlegal.com Richard Roy Wiebe wiebe@pacbell.net Manual Notice List The following is the list of attorneys who are not on the list to receive e-mail notices for this case (who therefore require manual noticing). You may wish to use your mouse to select and copy this list into your word processing program in order to create notices or labels for these recipients. David L. Anderson Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP 50 Fremont Street Post Office Box 7880 San Francisco, CA 94120-7880 David W. Carpenter Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP Bank One Plaza 10 South Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60600 Susan A. Freiwald USF School of LAW 2130 Fulton St San Francisco, CA 94117 Peter D. Keisler USDOJ Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch 20 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC 20001 David L. Lawson Sidley Austin Brown & Wood 172 Eye Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20006 Eric Schneider 1730 South Federal Hwy. #104 Delray Beach, FL 33483 1 2 3 DECLARATION OF SERVICE BY MAIL I, the undersigned, declare: 1. That declarant is and was, at all times herein mentioned, a citizen of the United States 4 and employed in the City and County of San Francisco, over the age of 18 years, and not a party to 5 or interested party in the within action; that declarant's business address is 100 Pine Street, 6 Suite 2600, San Francisco, California 94111. 7 2. That on July 14, 2006, declarant served the HEPTING PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION 8 TO ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO CONSIDER WHETHER CASES SHOULD BE RELATED 9 by depositing a true copy thereof in a United States mailbox at San Francisco, California in a sealed 10 envelope with postage thereon fully prepaid and addressed to: 11 12 13 14 3. MCI, LLC c/o The Corporation Trust Company Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange Street Wilmington, DE 19801 That there is a regular communication by mail between the place of mailing and the 15 places so addressed. 16 I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed this 14th 17 day of July, 2006, at San Francisco, California. 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 s/Ruth A. Cameron RUTH A. CAMERON

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