NBA’s Warriors Called Back to Court on Wiretap Claims

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By Daniel R. Stoller

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors will have to return to court to face federal wiretapping charges raised in an amended consumer class complaint ( Satchell v. Sonic Notify, Inc. , N.D. Cal., No. 16-cv-04961, amended complaint filed 3/13/17 ).

The case was partially dismissed in February by Judge Jeffrey S. White of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California because the proposed consumer class failed to allege that the Warriors fan engagement mobile application allowed for interception of “oral communication” or the use of the contents of a communication in violation of the Wiretap Act.

The law, which is part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, prohibits the intentional interception of wire, oral or electronic communications.

The March 13 amended complaint seeks to address those issues by alleging that the Warriors and their third party partners, Sonic Notify Inc. and YinzCam Inc., didn’t “inform nor obtain consent” to listen to or record consumers’ private communications. The Warriors knew that the mobile app “would constantly and continuously record and analyze their conversations” and acted “intentionally” to use a consumers’ microphone without consent, the complaint alleged.

The proposed consumer class could reap thousands of dollars in damages if their claims are successful. According the complaint, anywhere between 100,000 and 500,000 consumers downloaded and used the application. The complaint seeks statutory damages of $100 per day per individual, or $10,000 per class member. It alleges that the Warriors garnered $184,933 in incremental revenue from team store purchases driven by ads on the app.

The named plaintiff is represented by Edelson PC. The Golden State Warriors are represented by Cooley LLP.

Representatives for the Warriors didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg BNA’s phone calls seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dStoller@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

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