Michael H. Rubin is a partner in the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins, a member of the Litigation & Trial Department, and leader of the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Practice.
Mr. Rubin’s practice focuses on the defense of complex privacy, Internet, and consumer class action litigation and regulatory investigations on behalf of emerging and established companies. He also provides strategic counsel and guidance.
Mr. Rubin has substantial experience in complex multidistrict and class action litigation. He handles regulatory investigations and inquiries from regulators including by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and State Attorneys General. On an international level, he manages cross-border investigations from the US with local teams on the ground on behalf of multinational corporations. As a strategic advisor, he assists a broader set of clients ranging from the initial stage startups to Fortune 100 companies, where he provides business model advice and pruning, product counseling, and compliance advice.
Mr. Rubin has longstanding expertise advising on privacy, security, and Internet issues, with particular emphasis on the following: international compliance, including GDPR; compliance with FTC requirements; COPPA; ECPA and wiretap issues; behavioral advertising and social media; electronic marketing; security incidents, forensic investigations, and remediation of security issues; and government requests for information. He has provided advice to companies in a diverse set of industries, including: online commerce; online security; ad tech; social media; consumer electronics; media; financial services; health; retail; data brokers; hospitality; utilities; and insurance.
Mr. Rubin was recognized as one of the Daily Journal's Top 20 Lawyers Under 40 in California for 2014, and as a Rising Star in privacy law by Law360 in the two prior years. In addition, he was named in the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 editions of Northern California Super Lawyers and was selected for inclusion on Northern California Super Lawyers' list of Rising Stars in 2011.
A sampling of Mr. Rubin’s extensive experience includes representing:
- Weingarten v. LifeLock (D. Az). Lead counsel for LifeLock in this putative class action alleging that LifeLock’s identity protection service fails to live up to its advertised promises. Plaintiffs assert violations of Arizona’s consumer fraud act, breach of contract, and a declaratory judgment that LifeLock is in violation of its Consent Order with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Henson v. Turn Inc. (ND Cal.) and Kay v. Turn Inc. (LA Superior). Lead counsel for Turn in these putative class action lawsuits in federal and state court, which allege that Turn, a provider of an online advertising technology platform, and Verizon, one of Turn's data partners, used "super cookies" in violation of state privacy and consumer protection laws.
- White v. LG Electronics, Inc. (D. NJ). Lead counsel for LG Electronics in this putative class action that alleges LGE's SmartTVs operate in ways that violate the federal Video Privacy Protection Act and various state laws. Plaintiffs make the same allegations against Samsung and Sony. The case with dismissed with prejudice against LGE.
- Conn v. LG Electronics, Inc. (C.D.Cal.). Lead counsel for LG Electronics in this putative class action alleging that LGE violated state and federal when YouTube discontinued its app on certain older model Smart TVs. The case was dismissed with prejudice.
- Smith v. Facebook et al (ND Cal.). Lead counsel for BJC Healthcare in this multi-defendant lawsuit, which alleged that various healthcare organizations improperly disclosed the plaintiffs' information to Facebook in referrer headers. Plaintiffs asserted claims under various federal and state laws. The case was dismissed with prejudice.*
- In re: Google Inc. Street View Electronic Communications Litigation. Lead counsel for Google in this multidistrict litigation against Google, which is comprised of more than a dozen putative class action suits challenging the acquisition of publicly broadcast Wi-Fi data by Google's Street View vehicles from open and unencrypted wireless networks. The lawsuit alleged that Google violated the federal Wiretap Act.*
- Howard v. DJI Technology, Inc. (E.D. Cal.). Lead counsel for DJI in this putative class action alleging that the camera on DJI Phantom 3 drones failed to record at the resolution that DJI advertised. Plaintiff asserts various state law claims.*
- In re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation (D. Del.; 3d Cir.). Lead counsel for Google in this complex, multi-defendant, multidistrict litigation, which was made up of more than 20 putative class actions that arose from allegations that Google improperly placed cookies on certain web browsers. Plaintiffs asserted claims arising under the federal Wiretap and Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts, as well as various California state laws. The district court granted Google's motion to dismiss all claims with prejudice, and the Third Circuit remanded two state law claims. The district court approved the parties' settlement of the case, which has been appealed on an objector to the Third Circuit.*
- Foley v. LG Electronics, Inc. (E.D. Mich.). Lead counsel for LG Electronics (LGE) in this putative class action, which alleged that various LGE electronic ovens do not operate in compliance with their stated "Sabbath Mode" feature. Plaintiff's claims were dismissed with prejudice.*
- In re: Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation (D. NJ; 3d Cir.). Lead counsel for Google in this multidistrict litigation, which was comprised of six putative class action lawsuits alleging that Internet users under age 13 who visited three Viacom-owned and operated websites received cookies that enable Viacom and Google to track certain web-based activities. Plaintiffs' claims against Google arose under the federal Wiretap Act and Video Privacy Protection Act, as well as state laws. The court dismissed plaintiffs' claims with prejudice.*
- In re: Google Inc. Android Consumer Privacy Litigation (N.D. Cal.). Lead counsel for Google in this multidistrict litigation, which was made up of eight putative class action lawsuits and involved claims that Google's Android operating system or apps downloaded to Android devices mishandled user information, including information about users' locations. After a series of motions to dismiss, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice.*
- Viacom v. YouTube and English Premier League v. YouTube (SDNY; 2d Cir). Counsel to YouTube in these consolidated copyright infringement actions, which challenged YouTube's operations. In addition to securing multiple summary judgments for YouTube, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati secured orders barring the recovery of punitive damages in copyright infringement actions, requiring that foreign plaintiffs register their copyrights in order to seek statutory damages under the Copyright Act, and denying the motion for class certification in the Premier League action. The firm also secured orders protecting Google's source code and users' private videos from disclosure during discovery.*
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Significant online commerce provider in FTC Section 5 investigation. Matter closed without enforcement action.
- Multiple significant ad tech companies in FTC Section 5 investigations. Matters closed without FTC enforcement action.
- Significant online security provider in FTC Section 5 investigation. Matter closed with no enforcement action.
- Children’s service in FTC COPPA investigation. Matter closed without enforcement action.
- Multiple sharing economy companies in FTC Section 5 investigations. Matters closed with enforcement action.
- Connected device manufacturer in concurrent FTC Section 5 and State Attorney General investigations. Matters closed without enforcement action.
- Multiple companies in FTC FCRA investigations. Matters closed with no enforcement action.
- Google in FTC Section 5 and concurrent State AG investigations concerning Google’s placement of cookies on Safari web browsers. Both investigations were resolved with consent decrees in which Google denied liability.
- Numerous companies in ongoing FTC Consent Decree and Order compliance matters.
*Matter handled prior to joining Latham