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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Plaintiffs claim Vizio violated their privacy, consumer protection laws

By Sharon Spungen | Nov 18, 2015

A Yolo County, California man and a Harris County, Texas woman are bringing a class action suit against a television manufacturing firm and related companies for alleged violations of their privacy due to data sharing practices they claim violate the Video Privacy Protection Act, California's Consumer Records Act, California's Unfair Competition Law, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

David Watts and Whitney Keeter filed suit on Nov. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Vizio Holdings Inc., Vizio Inc., Vizio Inscape Services LLC, Vizio Inscape Technologies LLC, Cognitive Media Networks, Inc., and 50 unnamed defendants.

Watts claims to have purchased three Vizio smart televisions on May 5, 2014, Jan. 20, and Oct.19  in California. Keeter claims to have purchased a single set in May or June in Houston, Texas. The plaintiffs allege they purchased and used the televisions as "smart" televisions for their personal viewing use and connected them to the Internet as directed. Both Watts and Keeter claim that the defendants gathered and stored their personal viewing habits and information and shared such information with third parties for marketing and advertising purposes without their knowledge or consent.

These actions, they allege, constitute violations of the Video Protection Privacy Act, as defendants constitute "video tape service providers" who had an obligation to destroy their personal information and did not protect their confidentiality. The defendants allege these actions similarly violate the Customer Records Act. Because, the plaintiffs claim, the defendants have and continue to make money by selling the private viewing information of their customers, they are also in violation of the Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

The plaintiffs claim the amount in dispute exceeds the $5,000,000 threshold for federal jurisdiction in a class action lawsuit and that their claims are representative of all similarly situated smart television owners and they seek compensatory and punitive damages. They are represented by John R. Parker Jr. of Cutter Law PC located in Sacramento, California.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 8:15-cv-01860-JLS-KES

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