Privacy Class Action Defense

Venable brings together a deep understanding of one of the most critical tools of your business. That tool is information. Your ability to collect data on customers, competitors, employees, and ideas is both an asset and a liability. Venable's team of advertising and privacy lawyers are recognized around the world for their knowledge and experience with the regulations that govern data security, advertising, and privacy. They combine this experience with proven success in helping companies navigate and defend against government investigations and litigation.

Venable attorneys have years of experience defending clients in class actions arising under state and federal privacy statutes. We have defended these same clients in simultaneous enforcement actions by regulatory authorities covering the same areas.


  • On behalf of a research and publishing company, Venable defeated class certification in a California class action involving alleged privacy violations arising from our client recording telephone communications between its sales force and customers. The court denied class certification on the grounds that the recordings were authorized by state tariffs. The victory saved our client tens of millions in potential class damages
  • Venable won a motion to dismiss federal statutory privacy claims against an Internet advertising company in a multi-district litigation class action pending in the District of Delaware. Plaintiffs claimed that our client had violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Electronic Stored Communications Act, and Wiretapping Act by placing Internet “cookies” on plaintiffs’ Apple Safari browser software, despite the software’s default settings. On October 9, 2013, the district court granted defendants’ motions to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing because they failed to allege injury-in-fact, and because they failed to allege the elements of the various causes of action. In re Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litig., MDL Civ. No. 12-2358-SLR, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145727 (D. Del. October 9, 2013)
  • Securing a summary judgment against S.D. Cal. putative class claims challenging ordinary course of business telephone call monitoring and recording under California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and 12 other state privacy statutes. We established that the California legislature never intended to reach ordinary course of business call monitoring when it enacted CIPA, that a business entity is incapable of "eavesdropping" on its own telephone calls under state wiretap statutes, and that the client complied with telecommunications requirements for CIPA and CPUC business use exceptions to apply. Summary judgment of privacy claims upheld on appeal by the 9th Circuit. Thomasson v. GC Services L.P., 321 Fed. Appx. 557 (9th Cir. 2008)
  • Venable won a putative class action for an international security company in the Central District Court of California. Plaintiff alleged that our client failed to protect its employees' personal, confidential information from theft, in violation of privacy statutes. Venable moved to dismiss for lack of causation between the alleged theft of some computers and the claimed potential harm. Rather than oppose the motion, plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice for a settlement payment of $750
  • On behalf of a national bank, Venable successfully moved to dismiss with prejudice a putative nationwide class action filed in the Southern District of Texas, alleging that the bank’s marketing and administration of life insurance products to account holders violated state and federal privacy and RICO laws. Plaintiffs sought classwide damages of tens of millions of dollars. The decision is currently on appeal to the Fifth Circuit. Gonzalez v. Bank of America
  • Venable defeated class certification in a putative multi-state class action challenging our client’s alleged data pass and other magazine subscription continuity programs, and cancel/save and IVR system issues. Plaintiffs sought to certify classes for damages claims and injunctive relief. Venable opposed class certification on the grounds that circumstances surrounding each subscriber’s initial acceptance and subsequent renewal or cancellation of magazine subscriptions would need to be litigated on a case-by-case basis to determine defendant’s liability. The court agreed. Plaintiff’s estimated value of the classwide damages was several hundred million dollars. The decision is currently on appeal to the Third Circuit. McNair v. Synapse Group Inc

Government Experience

Attorneys who have held senior positions at federal agencies, including:

  • Department of Justice
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • Department of Labor
  • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency


  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers
    • Best Law Firms, Mass Torts Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants (Tier 1), National, 2011 – 2020
    • Best Law Firms, Mass Torts Litigation/Class Action – Defendants (Tier 3), National, 2022 - 2023
    • Best Law Firms, Mass Torts Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants (Tier 1), Baltimore, 2011 – 2020, 2022 - 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2008 – 2011, 2021 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)
  • Legal 500, Mass Torts Litigation/Class Action, 2016 – 2023 (Venable attorneys recognized for inclusion)
  • Chambers USA, Product Liability & Mass Torts, 2016 – 2023