Calif. Team Gets Student’s Privacy Appeal Dismissed

San Francisco Partner Gordon Calhoun, Los Angeles Partner Robert Slaughter, San Diego Appellate Practice Partner Jeffry Miller, and San Diego Appellate Practice Associate Brittany Bartold prevailed in an appeal from an order of dismissal in a student’s suit alleging his personal information was improperly shared.

The student sued our client, who operated a plagiarism-detection website, along with the community college he attended and his English teacher for negligence, breach of contract, lack of full disclosure, identity theft, and fraud. He claimed his “personal information” was made available to the website without informing him of the legal consequences of doing so and without his consent.

The trial court sustained our client’s demurrer without leave to amend as the plaintiff did not identify what personal information was disclosed or state why he had a protectable privacy interest in the information. The plaintiff appealed.

We filed a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the appeal was not timely filed as to our client. The plaintiff argued that his motion for reconsideration, which was filed on the same day the court entered judgment, should be treated as a motion for new trial and extend the time for appeal.

After briefing and oral arguments, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal as to our client, finding that the trial court correctly ruled that a motion for reconsideration cannot be heard or granted after a final judgment is entered. Because the plaintiff never filed a motion for a new trial or asked the trial court to treat the motion for reconsideration as a motion for a new trial, the appellate court held that the appeal was untimely.

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