Yesterday's Daily Journal had another focus article (I believe this makes four) on Pioneer Electronics. The article, by Susan E. Abitanta and Robert J. Drexler Jr. of The Quisenberry Law Firm, begins:
To hear defense counsel spin it, the California Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Pioneer Electronics minimizes all-important privacy rights to meet trivial discovery ends, yet at the same time is so narrow that it makes no difference in existing privacy law. Pioneer Electronics USA Inc. v. Superior Court, 40 Cal.4th 360 (Jan. 25, 2007).
In a similar fashion, the same voices quickly downplayed Sav-On Drug Stores Inc v. Superior Court, 34 Cal.4th 319 (2004), as an inconsequential opinion offering little help to class plaintiffs.
When viewed dispassionately, however, Pioneer greatly aids plaintiffs in class actions, because it improves counsel's access to precertification information from putative class members - witnesses with knowledge of the claims. Pioneer addresses critical discovery issues of whether plaintiffs may receive contact information for putative class members and, if so, what steps should be taken to protect their privacy rights.