SAN BRUNO, Calif. — A San Bruno resident has filed a complaint
against Automotive Recovery Services, alleging that her personal
information was not protected against hackers when she donated a car
Margarita Serrano filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of California on Jan. 13, according to a
by the Northern California Record. The complaint faults
Automotive Recovery Services Inc. for negligence and violation of the
Unfair Competition Law and the California Data Breach Act.
Data Breach Act requires that “a business or state agency to
notify any California resident whose unencrypted personal
information, as defined, was acquired, or reasonably believed to have
been acquired, by an unauthorized person.”
California's Unfair Competition Law is defined
as “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and
unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising.”
Automotive Recovery Services Inc. is believed by Serrano to be
responsible because they allegedly did not protect her private
information and “failed to disclose material facts relating to its
security practices,” as stated in the Northern California Record
The complaint alleges that Serrano’s personal information was
exposed to the public in May 2015 because of Automotive Recovery
Services' allegedly poor security procedures when she donated a
vehicle to a separate charitable organization.
According to a business profile
on Bloomberg.com, Automotive Recovery Services Inc. is a company
based out of Carmel, Indiana. Automotive Recovery Services also
operates under the name ADESA and is a subsidiary of KAR Auction
Services Inc. It was founded in 2000 and does processing solutions
for insurance companies, auction companies and other vehicle
suppliers in the United States. The company picks up damaged and
recovered stolen vehicles and other vehicles that are salvageable.
The legality of suing a company not based in California can be
“It can be legal, depending on the facts of the case,” John
Doherty, president of the Civil Justice Association of California,
told the Northern California Record. “It’s a matter of
whether the California courts are able to assert jurisdiction over
the business, which is determined by how active the business is in
California and the view of the court.”
Other factors may also come into play.
“A plaintiff my chose to do this both for choice of forum and
law concerns that are viewed favorable to the case, or for the
convenience of the plaintiff,” Doherty said.
The California court system may also be seen as more favorable to
“California has long been a favorite filing place for plaintiff
attorneys,” Doherty said.
He added that filing a complaint in a different state than that of
a defendant is common.
Serrano has requested a trial by jury. She is represented by Todd
M. Friedman of the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C. in Woodland