What is the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)?
CCPA and Data Protection

The rapid rise of public internet services, smartphone technology, and social media has outpaced the demand for consumer privacy and protection. Since Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25, 2018, American consumer advocates have been working on getting similar personal information protections passed to modernize how businesses and organizations handle customer data. That day is coming soon.

What is the CCPA?

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), set to go into effect in January 2020, is the first step toward giving California consumers control over how their personal information is collected, used, and shared. This is hotly contested topic in the legal community, particularly among attorneys who practice class actions. Regardless of where your firms stands on this issue, Heffler Claims Group can help manage the unavoidable impact passage of this law will have on consumer class action settlement administration.

What the California Consumer Protection Act Means For Consumers and Businesses

More than 8,804 data breaches have gone public since 2005, with over 11.5 million records compromised. In 2019 alone, there have been at least 58 public data breaches, affecting more than 1.3 million consumers. American shoppers wonder what information has been breached, by whom, and to what effect. The CCPA will finally give Americans greater control over their personal data.  

As of January 1, 2020:

  • California consumers have the power to demand companies disclose what personal data they have.
  • Businesses from Facebook to Walmart can no longer commodify consumer data.
  • Organizations will be required to ask for opt-in consent when collecting consumer information.  
  • Businesses will need to explain why they possess certain data and what security measures are in place.
  • California consumers can ask companies to delete data and file class actions when companies fail to comply.

How the California Consumer Protection Act Could Affect Class Actions

Heffler Claims Group has been closely monitoring the passage of this landmark legislation. We have identified a myriad of changes in class action claims administration to follow. Among them:

  • Notification will be widespread, and more class actions will spring up – Consumers must provide 30 days written notice of a perceived law violation. If the business remedies the situation within a month’s time, no action for statutory damages may be filed. However, it is more likely for plaintiffs and counsel to learn of compromised data, so we are anticipating an increased number of class action initiatives.
  • Class action lawsuits with statutory damages will be easier to certify and approve – Damages become clearer. As Spokeo v. Robins made it clear: plaintiffs can suffer injury in-fact when false information is published about them online. Adding increased scrutiny to consumer privacy will only create a greater demand for certification and approval of privacy claims.
  • Small individual claims may yield big settlements – Consumers may be able to obtain relief for actual or statutory damages ranging from $100 to $750 per person per incident. The courts will consider the nature, seriousness, and willfulness of misconduct in setting the damage threshold. Additional fines ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 per violation can be levied in cases of gross negligence. The financial incentive to pursue these claims is great, which is another reason we’re expecting to see a flurry of activity.
  • There is room for interpretation and revision – As the law is yet without precedent in the United States, the CCPA will likely remain a work in progress for the foreseeable future. Parts of the law remain ambiguous and yet-to-be-defined by the courts, legislators, or both. For instance, what constitutes “reasonable” security measures to prevent a data breach? What will the courts consider an effective “cure” of a breach? Key provisions may be missing, and loopholes may arise that will need to be closed. 

Contact Heffler Claims Group to learn more about the enactment of the CCPA and to request a proposal regarding our comprehensive in-house services. With more than 50 years as a leader in consumer class action settlement administration, we are prepared to meet the challenge of any new legislative hurdle.


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