This post was also written by Joshua B. Marker and Tyler M. Layton.
Judge Marla Miller of San Francisco Superior Court sided with Delta and sustained its demurrer to the complaint without leave to amend. Despite the defense win, however, the decision provides little guidance regarding CalOPPA and its remedies, because the court did not address the substance of the statute. Rather, the court found that the claims against Delta were entirely preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act, which preempts any state “law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier.” The court declined to rule on the arguments pertaining to the substantive reach of CalOPPA.
In short, the precedential value of this decision outside of the airline industry is up in the air. While the decision may set the groundwork for preemption arguments that can be made in other federally regulated industries, the decision itself provides little guidance on CalOPPA specifically. With the potential for hefty statutory penalties, CalOPPA is still a privacy statute that requires careful consideration with regard to every company’s mobile applications.