Readers of this blog are well aware of the recent surge in data privacy litigation. In February 2024, Atlas Data Privacy Corporation ("Atlas Data"), a consumer data protection company, filed over 100 lawsuits in the State of New Jersey alleging that various companies had violated Daniel's Law. With Atlas Data utilizing Daniel's Law as a vehicle to bring lawsuits, now is an appropriate time to discuss Daniel's Law in further detail.

A Primer About Daniel's Law and Atlas Data

Daniel's Law was enacted in November 2020 in response to the tragic killing of Daniel Anderl, the son of a New Jersey federal judge. The perpetrator had obtained the judge's home address on the Internet and as a result, Daniel's Law, named after the judge's son, was passed. Daniel's Law seeks to protect disclosure of the home addresses and/or telephone numbers of judicial and law enforcement officers and other "covered persons." Daniel's Law defines "covered person" as "an active, formerly active, or retired judicial officer, law enforcement officer, or child protective investigator ... or prosecutor, and any immediate family remember residing in the same household .... " Within 10 days of receipt of a request from an "authorized person" ("Take-Down Request"), the recipient must no longer disclose on the Internet or otherwise make available, the home address or unpublished home telephone number of any covered person. Notably, home telephone number includes an individual's cellular telephone number.

Daniel's Law allows for a private right of action and permits recovery of actual damages or statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation. Amended in July 2023, Daniel's Law also allows a covered person to assign a Daniel's Law claim, which is the mechanism Atlas Data purportedly invoked to bring all of these lawsuits on behalf of covered persons. Additionally, Daniel's Law allows for recovery of attorneys' fees and costs, and punitive damages, if it can be proven that a company willfully or recklessly disregarded the law.

Future Daniel's Law Lawsuits

Because of Atlas Data's filing of numerous recent Daniel's Law lawsuits, and the short timeframe during which companies must comply with Take-Down Requests, Daniel's Law is sure to be heavily litigated in the near future. Given the influx of Daniel's Law lawsuits, courts are likely to soon provide interpretive guidance that will help Take-Down Request recipients comply with the law. Until courts do so, it is imperative that companies comply with Take-Down Requests without delay.

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