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Some Notes on ‘Private Right of Action’

Art Print - a red and white soup can resembling Campbells with text 'Oh Worm.' from: PWCD - Private Right of Action


Written by: m.wilson

“The Texas law, signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant. Rather than having the state enforce the ban, the law creates a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law – but not against the woman who undergoes the procedure.”

Efforts to end the Texas abortion ban are still in motion – the central argument being that the ban disregards established legal precedent (Roe v Wade) and that it violates the constitution. Texas is enacting this prohibition while seemingly complying with federal laws as it facilitates private lawsuits (Private Right of Action) – and federal law is meant to take precedence over state law according to the equal protections described in the 14th amendment.

“The most common form of relief sought and obtained through a Title VI private right of action is an injunction ordering a recipient to do or to stop doing something.
To obtain a permanent injunction, the moving party must demonstrate:
(1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies avail­able at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.”

Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion law (June 2016)

Data-Driven Businesses and Privacy

Earlier this fall, Brookings Institute published an article describing recent stances within the senate on the inclusion of the right of action. In the piece, Tisch Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Cameron Kerry surmised that this was a promising sign of U.S. Congress passing much-needed federal privacy legislation in the near future. Meanwhile, according to (Dec 2021), individuals are generating 1.7 megabytes of data per second, and data analytics profits are forecast to reach 103 billion by 2023. Californians stand to benefit from expanded privacy legislation in January 2023 after voting yes on Proposition 24 last year. The California Consumer Privacy Act – CCPA will become California Privacy Rights Act – CCPR, which authorizes broader consumer access.

Rexing TL1 Time-Lapse Camera


Private Right of Action, which allows private citizens to sue for the enforcement of rights relational to a federal common law, public statute, or the Constitution – because it is not an action by a government authority and applies to occurrences between individuals – is in some ways comparable to cancel culture. In cancel culture, private individuals could potentially find themselves devoid of a livelihood as punishment for getting angry about something, for drinking too much, and certainly – perhaps more quietly, for having an abortion. It is where the deciding opinions have a great deal to do with politics, popularity, and the way an individual has been presented to the public. A collision occurring between these three worlds of ‘justice,’ (the authority, the authorized person, and the social media), is apparent in a comment recently made by a Jussie Smollett jury member, who reportedly stated that they had done Jussie “a favor” by not finding him guilty on the sixth count of his indictment. Many may find it a little disturbing to think of jury members doing defendants ‘favors,’ which only seems appropriate within a social context and hardly ideal in a court of law. Such an effort shows the potential for not being “right” in the face of legal charges – when “right” is so open to sentiment. If a criminal case lacks evidence and is solely based on hearsay and various character judgments – for example, made by (actors) who are “not really racist’ and others promoting their identification with “real civil rights,” it would make it more difficult for a defendant to receive a fair trial.


The Class Action Lawsuit Against Planned Parenthood – Private legal action may be setting the stage for increased criminal privacy infringement and lawsuits in regards to abortion, and not only in Texas. The ransomware attack on the Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles occurring this past October for example, exposed the data of over 400,000 women, namely those who’d received abortions and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. After notifying victims of the breach, the company was sued for violating state and federal laws requiring adequate safeguards against hacking.

Private Right of Action should not be confused with established law and while there are profound consequences for persons outside of the legal establishment. In this way, Private Right of Action may become even more complex due to its interrelatedness with cancel culture and when considering various developments within the current legal system.

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