ComScore Faces Monster Privacy Class Action Lawsuit

Plaintiffs could number in the tens of millions

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago Tuesday paved the way for a privacy class action suit to proceed against comScore.

By denying comScore's request to overturn a lower court's decision allowing the suit to proceed as a class action suit, comScore finds itself in the center of the largest privacy class action suit ever. 

The suit was filed August 2011 by two comScore panelists who downloaded comScore software. It alleges that comScore collected and sold consumers' personal information, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, financial information and retail transactions. Edelson LLC, the Chicago law firm representing plaintiffs Mike Harris and Jeff Dunstant, allege that comScore's software violates the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices act. They are seeking injunctive relief and damages of $1,000 per violation.

Because the suit could cover everyone who has downloaded comScore software since 2005, the class action suit could have tens of millions of plaintiffs, according to the law firm Baker Hostetler.

"No privacy case of anything approaching this size has ever been certified," comScore argued in its appeal. The Association of National Advertisers, the 4A's and the Direct Marketing Association supported comScore's petition that the case should not go ahead as a class action suit.

Still, the Seventh Circuit issued an order denying comScore's request, advancing the class action suit to trial, probably by the end of the year.

ComScore intends to fight the case. "This is not a negative finding on any action on the part of comScore," the company said in a statement. "We will continue to educate the court on our practices, which we have had a limited opportunity to do given the procedural nature of the matters before them to date."

"The suit is filled with factual inaccuracies," comScore said in a separate statement on its website. ComScore also tried to disparage Edelson, which has made its reputation off class action suits by going after large and growing companies in the hopes that they will settle. Edelson has already sued a number of companies including Groupon, Facebook, Zynga, Time Warner, Yahoo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase.