Huynh v. Quora, Inc.

Decision Date21 December 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 5:18-cv-07597-BLF
Citation508 F.Supp.3d 633
Parties Alexander HUYNH, et al., Plaintiffs, v. QUORA, INC., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of California

Franklin David Azar, Pro Hac Vice, Paul R. Wood, Margeaux Rachelle Azar, Pro Hac Vice, Franklin D. Azar & Associates, P.C., Aurora, CO, Blair E. Reed, Brittany Skye Scott, L. Timothy Fisher, Bursor and Fisher, P.A., Walnut Creek, CA, Cody Robert Padgett, Trisha Kathleen Monesi, Steven R. Weinmann, Tarek H. Zohdy, Capstone Law, APC Capstone Law, APC, Los Angeles, CA, Ivy T. Ngo, Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP, Miami, FL, Joshua Moyer, Shamis & Gentile, P.A., San Diego, CA, for Plaintiffs.

Ian Ballon, Greenberg Traurig LLP, East Palo Alto, CA, Rebekah Susanne Strawn Guyon, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Los Angeles, CA, Vishesh Narayen, Pro Hac Vice, Greenberg Traurig, Tampa, FL, for Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

[Re: ECF 140]

BETH LABSON FREEMAN, United States District Judge

In this putative class action, Plaintiff Jeri Connor ("Plaintiff") alleges that Defendant Quora, Inc. ("Defendant") failed to safeguard its users’ personal identifying information ("PII") from a data breach of their platform. Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on the remaining claims for (1) negligence and (2) California's Unfair Competition Law (the "UCL"). Mot. for Summary J. ("Mot."), ECF 140. Having considered the parties’ briefing, oral arguments on October 29, 2020, and the applicable law, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendant's Motion.

I. BACKGROUND
A. The Undisputed Facts of the Data Breach1

Defendant Quora is a question-and-answer social media platform. Decl. of Paula Griffin ("Griffin Decl.") ¶ 3, ECF 140-1; Decl. of Zhe Fu ("Fu Decl.") ¶ 3, ECF 140-2. To become one of its users, a person must create an account and provide Defendant certain PII, which the company collects and maintains under its Privacy Policy.

See Griffin Decl. ¶ 4; Decl. of Steven R. Weinmann ("Weinmann Decl.") Ex. C ("Terms of Service"), ECF 151-1, and Ex. F ("Privacy Policy"), ECF 151-4. Defendant also provides users the ability to link their accounts with other social media accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn. See Weinmann Decl. Ex. B, at 20:6-9, ECF 152-1, and Decl. of Rebekah S. Guyon ("Guyon Decl.") Ex. 13, ECF 140-4 (collectively "Connor Tr."); see also Guyon Decl. Ex. 11 ("Disclosure Email"), ECF 140-4.

On November 30, 2018, Defendant learned that a third-party had breached its platform approximately six months earlier (the "Data Breach"). Fu Decl. ¶ 4; Weinmann Decl. Ex. D ("Griffin Tr."), at 41:13-19, ECF 151-2; Decl. of Paul R. Wood ("Wood Decl.") Ex. 2 ("Quora Blog Post"), ECF 150-4. Days later on December 3, 2018, Defendant disclosed the Data Breach via email to its affected users, including Plaintiff Jeri Connor. See Disclosure Email. One month later in January 2019, Plaintiff purchased premium credit monitoring from ClickFreeScore for five months, costing $39.90 per month.2 See Guyon Decl. Ex. 12 ("Purchase Receipt") and Ex. 17 ("Cancellation Receipt"), ECF 140-4; Connor Tr. 197:1-198:11. Since she received notice of the Data Breach, Plaintiff says she has spent approximately one hour per day monitoring her accounts. Connor Tr. 242:16-24. While Plaintiff has been the victim of numerous other data breaches and feels she has been put at risk for identity theft, she does not allege that she has yet suffered actual identity theft or fraud since the Data Breach. Connor Tr. 10:5-11:13, 16:18-23, 17:5-15, 39:6-10, 44:4-9.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff Alexander Huynh commenced this action on December 18, 2018. Compl., ECF 1. After several other cases were consolidated into this one, Plaintiffs filed the Second Amended Complaint on April 25, 2019. See Order, ECF 17; Order, ECF 19; Order, ECF 45; Second Am. Compl. ("SAC"), ECF 55. On December 19, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant's motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. Order ("Prior Order I"), ECF 72.

On February 25, 2020, Plaintiffs filed the Third Amended Complaint, alleging four causes of action: (1) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. ; (2) negligence; (3) breach of confidence; and (4) breach of contract.3 See Consol. Third Am. Class Action Compl. ("TAC") ¶¶ 68-115, ECF 85. On February 28, 2020, Defendant moved to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint. Mot., ECF 88. On June 1, 2020, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant's motion to dismiss, allowing Plaintiffs’ negligence and UCL claims to proceed. Order ("Prior Order II"), ECF 116.

Defendant filed this Motion for Summary Judgment on September 4, 2020. See generally Mot. Plaintiff timely filed the Opposition on October 5, 2020. See generally Opp'n, ECF 154. Defendant filed the Reply on October 15, 2020. See generally Reply, ECF 161.

II. RULE 56 SUMMARY JUDGMENT LEGAL STANDARD

"A party is entitled to summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ " City of Pomona v. SQM N. Am. Corp. , 750 F.3d 1036, 1049 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) ). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is "genuine" if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable trier of fact to decide in favor of the nonmoving party. Id.

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for the motion and identifying portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). To meet its burden, "the moving party must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim or defense or show that the nonmoving party does not have enough evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial." Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., Inc. , 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). In judging evidence at the summary judgment stage, the Court "does not assess credibility or weigh the evidence, but simply determines whether there is a genuine factual issue for trial." House v. Bell, 547 U.S. 518, 559-60, 126 S.Ct. 2064, 165 L.Ed.2d 1 (2006). Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, it must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party. Celotex , 477 U.S. at 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548 ; Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007).

If the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to produce evidence supporting its claims or defenses. Nissan Fire , 210 F.3d at 1103. If the nonmoving party does not produce evidence to show a genuine issue of material fact, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. "The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor." City of Pomona , 750 F.3d at 1049. "[T]he ‘mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [nonmovant's] position’ " is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. First Pac. Networks, Inc. v. Atl. Mut. Ins. Co. , 891 F. Supp. 510, 513-14 (N.D. Cal. 1995) (quoting Anderson , 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505 ). " ‘Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.’ " First Pac. Networks , 891 F. Supp. at 514 (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) ).

III. RULE 56(D) MOTION TO DELAY OR DENY SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has obfuscated the nature and details of the Data Breach, undermining her ability to determine whether any compromised information can be used to perpetrate fraud or identity theft. Opp'n 4. Plaintiff therefore moves to delay or deny Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56(d) so that she can develop facts regarding the scope of the Data Breach. Opp'n 4, 6-7. Plaintiff's request is DENIED.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) is "a device for litigants to avoid summary judgment when they have not had sufficient time to develop affirmative evidence." U.S. v. Kitsap Physicians Serv. , 314 F.3d 995, 1000 (9th Cir. 2002). Rule 56(d) states:

If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:
(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or
(3) issue any other appropriate order.

To prevail on a Rule 56(d) request, the party seeking relief must show that "(1) it has set forth in affidavit form the specific facts it hopes to elicit from further discovery; (2) the facts sought exist; and (3) the sought-after facts are essential to oppose summary judgment." Family Home & Fin. Ctr., Inc. v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp. , 525 F.3d 822, 827 (9th Cir. 2008). The party must also show that he or she has pursued discovery diligently in the past and that additional discovery would prevent summary judgment. Iglesia Ni Cristo v. Cayabyab , Case No. 18-cv-00561-BLF, 2020 WL 1531349, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2020) (citing Chance v. Pac-Tel Teletrac Inc. , 242 F.3d 1151, 1161 n.6 (9th Cir. 2001) ).

Here, Plaintiff sets forth the discovery sought in the Declaration of Paul R. Wood and in the Opposition. Plaintiff seeks...

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