Internet service provider Yahoo! Inc. received grand jury subpoenas from the District Attorney’s Office for the Southern Judicial Circuit of Georgia, seeking records regarding the identification of one of Yahoo!'s users. Yahoo! complied with the subpoenas and produced the records. Fayelynn Sams, the user whose records the Georgia district attorney sought, sued Yahoo!, alleging violations of the Stored Communications Act (SCA) (18 U.S.C. §§2701-2712). Sams argued that Yahoo! violated the SCA by disclosing information pursuant to invalid subpoenas, and that, even if the subpoenas were valid, Yahoo! violated the SCA by producing the records before the deadlines set in the subpoenas.
The district court granted Yahoo!’s motion to dismiss the complaint, ruling that Yahoo! was immune from liability under the SCA, §2703(e) for disclosing subscriber information in accordance with the terms of a subpoena. The Ninth Circuit decided the case under §2707(e), which provides immunity for disclosing the information on a “good faith reliance” on a grand jury subpoena. The interpretation of “good faith reliance” under §2707(e) was a matter of first impression in the Ninth Circuit, i.e., the Ninth Circuit had not previously addressed the issue. The Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s dismissal.