Zimmerman Reed Slams L’Occitane for alleged Arbitration ‘Conspiracy’

AM Editorial Team

A well known plaintiffs’ law firm has requested a dismissal of a lawsuit filed against it by L’Occitane, a skincare company based in France, alleging that the company “fabricated” conspiracy allegations and improperly invoked an anti-wiretapping law to avoid thousands of consumer arbitration claims. L’Occitane filed the lawsuit claiming the law firm was “manufacturing” mass arbitration claims against it under the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) by having people visit the company’s website and claim their privacy was violated by third-party tracking software. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the firm and an order that would declare parts of CIPA unconstitutional.

Zimmerman Reed also separately requested that L’Occitane’s lawsuit be sent to arbitration, alleging that the skincare company is breaking its own terms of use by pursuing its claims in federal court. The law firm argues that there is no factual or legal basis for L’Occitane’s claim and it should be denied without leave to amend.

L’Occitane’s lawsuit alleges that Zimmerman Reed threatened that it represented 3,100 users of the company’s website and had filed more than 100 arbitration claims with the American Arbitration Association, all alleging claims under CIPA. L’Occitane said it received letters from Zimmerman Reed and AAA to pay more than $45,000 in total for fees relating to the arbitration claims.

Website operators have been flooded with CIPA claims that they are “wiretapping” their own websites by using third-party tracking software, like Google Analytics, following a 2022 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling. The ruling held that CIPA “applies to Internet communications,” and anyone who accesses such communication “without the consent of all parties” can be held liable.

The case, L’Occitane Inc. v. Zimmerman Reed LLP, is currently being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Attorneys for L’Occitane and Zimmerman Reed have not responded to requests for comment.