Federal Judge Dismisses Shine-the-Light Suit

Published: Jun. 19, 2012

Updated: Oct. 05, 2020

Last Thursday, a federal judge in the Central District of California dismissed a class action suit alleging that Men’s Journal had violated provisions of California’s Shine the Light (“STL”) law and California’s Unfair Competition law. In the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s alleged violations of the STL law had caused him injury in the following ways:

  • Defendant’s non-compliance with the STL law diminished the value of his personal information and deprived him of the chance to sell it himself;
  • Defendant’s failure to provide him with information (in the form of contact information where plaintiff could request disclosures under the STL law) to which he was statutorily entitled caused him injury; and
  • Defendant’s failure to provide the information required under the STL law deprived him of the value of his magazine subscription, as “customers have a reasonable expectation that the other party will abide by all applicable state and federal laws.”

In granting defendant’s motion to dismiss, the judge held that the plaintiff had failed to show a statutory injury, stating that: (1) even if the value of the plaintiff’s personal information had been damaged (which was not proven), the alleged violation of the statute was not the cause of the reduction in value; (2) because Cal. Civ. Code § 1789.84(b) requires an actual injury in conjunction with a violation of the statute, mere violation of the statute by the defendant was not sufficient to establish a statutory injury; and (3) plaintiff’s claimed expectation that the defendant would comply with all applicable federal and state laws was not part of the bargain between the plaintiff and the defendant. The judge also dismissed plaintiff’s claim under California’s Unfair Competition law, stating that the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate a cognizable injury under the UCL because he did not demonstrate that he had lost money or property as a result of the defendant’s business practices.

A copy of the order can be found here.