Class action news of note: Tobacco II arguments leaves everyone guessing, and more

This past week, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Tobacco II cases.  Extensive coverage of the oral argument is available from the UCL Practitioner in this post.  The obligatory reading of tea leaves has, in this instance, revealed little.  For examle, Mike McKee, writing for The Records, said, "Just a few weeks ago, the California Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act can only be filed by individuals who suffer real damage from unlawful business practices. But during oral arguments on Tuesday it wasn't clear where the court stood on applying that same rule to every participant of class actions filed under the state's Unfair Competition Law."  (Mike McKee, Calif. Justices Air Standing for UCL Class Actions Against Tobacco Industry (March 4, 2009)  Having watched the argument myself, I agree that it was hard to discern much from the Justices.  The cynic in me always assumes that the creep of Proposition 64 will keep on spreading its tendrils, but the argument itself gives me little actual evidence to support that guess.

Meanwhile, the significance of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Davis v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., et al. (February 26, 2009) reached the legal media:  "In a blow to plaintiffs class action lawyers, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has made it tougher to hold that a national company is a 'citizen' of California merely based on the disproportionate size of the state's population."  (Pamela A. MacLean, 9th Circuit Deals a Blow to Plaintiffs Lawyers in 'Principal Place of Business' Test (March 9, 2009)  Not that Tosco actually held that a state's population size governed corporate citizenship, but the remainder of the article is accurate.  This blog noted the decision in this short post.

Finally, while a bit late to the party, another ISP and the defunct Adzilla were sued for deep packet inspection for the purposes of obtaining the advertising holy grail: complete knowledge of each consumer's behaviors and preferences.  (Ryan Singel, Another ISP Ad Snooper Hit With Lawsuit (March 3, 2009)  I've already expressed my contempt for this behavior by ISPs.  Luckily, these projects appear dead in the United States.  But don't count on them staying down forever.