Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jurisdiction: Home Is Where The Money Is

Following a ruling last month by the European Court of Justice in eDate Advertising GmbH v. X and Olivier Martinez, Robert Martinez v. MGN Limited, plaintiffs who want to sue online publishers in Europe for damaging content are now in a better position than those going after offline media. In both the offline and online contexts, a plaintiff may sue publishers in any and all of the EU member states where the publication was distributed, but can recover only for the damage caused in the jurisdiction where suit is brought. Alternatively, plaintiffs in either context may sue in the state where the publisher is established, and can recover for all the damage caused by the publication in any jurisdiction. As a result of the ECJ’s ruling, plaintiffs in cases involving online content now have a third option: suing in the place where the plaintiff has her “centre of interests,” and recovering for all the damage caused anywhere. The plaintiff’s “centre of interests” may include not only where the plaintiff resides but also any other place to which the plaintiff has “a particularly close link,” such as where she pursues professional activity. This decision makes suing online publishers more convenient for plaintiffs, and thus may lead to more defamation suits against website operators.

© Copyright 2011 Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Privacy Law is No Excuse for Spoliation of Evidence...!!

European Union requirements to delete personal data once it is “no longer necessary” for business purposes do not excuse a company from U.S. law regarding spoliation of evidence. A decision last month by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in IO Group Inc., et al. v. GLBT Ltd., et al., rejected a British website operator’s argument that its intentional destruction of emails relevant to copyright infringement litigation could not be considered spoliation of evidence because it was done per the requirements of the U.K. Data Protection Act 1998. This decision highlights the fact that U.S. courts often will not excuse noncompliance with U.S. law on grounds that complying would result in a violation of foreign law – a conundrum that is increasingly faced by companies that have data stored abroad but are subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

© Copyright 2011 Steptoe & Johnson LLP