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Former Madison County chief judge Callis leads eavesdropping class action against Yahoo

By The Madison County Record | Jun 23, 2015


Former Madison County chief judge Ann Callis recovers from political defeat by stepping forward as a new class action lawyer.

On June 18, she entered an appearance in a federal suit claiming Yahoo violates the privacy of those who don’t subscribe to it but do communicate with its subscribers.

Goldenberg Heller of Edwardsville, the firm Callis joined after losing a Congressional race last year, filed the suit through lawyers Thomas Rosenfeld and Kevin Green.

Upon Callis’s appearance, the court clerk placed her name at the top of the docket.

Rosenfeld and Green sued Yahoo for Kaylynn Rehberger of Highland on June 2, alleging it intercepted messages between her and its subscribers.

They wrote that Yahoo claims the right to scan and analyze all incoming and outgoing messages from a user’s account.

“Plaintiff is not a Yahoo Mail user and not a party to the purported contract between Yahoo and Yahoo mail users,” they wrote.

The suit says that Rehberger did not consent and did not know Yahoo intercepted and disclosed the information.

It also says that Yahoo Mail claims more than 75 million users in the United States and more than 275 million globally.

“In exchange for the ‘free’ email service, Yahoo users are subject to advertising when using the Yahoo Mail service,” the suit says.

Rehberger and Green wrote that Yahoo can increase revenues by obtaining details about users.

The suit wouldn’t have started at all, if plaintiff lawyers in a California federal court had succeeded in pursuing a national class action under California privacy law.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose disappointed them on May 26, finding she could neither apply California law to all states nor apply laws of all states at once.

She certified a class for California only, though she separately certified a national class for claims under the federal Stored Communications Act.

Her decision relieved pressure on Yahoo but did not satisfy the company.

On June 10, Yahoo petitioned the Ninth Circuit appellate court for immediate review.

Plaintiffs all admit that they have continued to send emails to Yahoo Mail users with full knowledge that those emails would be scanned and their content would be stored and potentially shared,” Yahoo lawyers wrote.

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