Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Judge dismisses part of lawsuit against Harriet Carter Gifts over alleged tracking

Federal Court

By Carrie Bradon | Dec 16, 2019

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PITTSBURGH – A federal judge has partially dismissed a woman's lawsuit against an online vendor and another party over allegations that her activity was tracked while using a website.

Judge William S. Stickman IV of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Dec. 6 dismissed plaintiff Ashley Popa's count two of intrusion upon seclusion against Harriet Carter Gifts Inc. and Navistone Inc. Stickman denied the defendants' request to dismiss count one of alleged violation of Pennsylvania's wiretap statute.

"The court holds that it cannot, at this time, determine whether Popa's amended complaint fails to plead a legally cognizable claim at count one," Stickman wrote. "The court will deny the motions to dismiss as to count one without prejudice to defendants' right to reassert their defenses after discovery develops a more complete factual record which better contextualizes defendants' alleged conduct in light of the claims asserted and the applicable law.

"Defendants' motions to dismiss count two will be granted because Popa cannot maintain her claim in light of the facts pled in her amended complaint."

According to the complaint, the plaintiff seeks damages over allegations the defendants unlawfully collected her data while she was shopping online. Harriet Carter is the owner of a website that the plaintiff was shopping on and the plaintiff’s information allegedly was collected by Navistone Inc., a third party. She filed her lawsuit in March in Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas.

Strickman wrote that in regards to dismissing the intrusion upon seclusion count, the defendants' collection of Popa's keystrokes and mouse clicks is not the type of highly offensive action that can be labeled as being worthy of liability. 

The judge wrote the liability of the defendants for tracking the plaintiff’s online activity would require that the conduct by the defendants caused the plaintiff to suffer mentally to suffer shame of humiliation, and the plaintiff has not alleged any such conduct.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number 2:19-CV-00450-WSS

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