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CHICAGO � KamberEdelson, a law firm created by the recent merger of two small law firms � one in Chicago and the other in New York � aims to become the go-to firm for plaintiffs seeking to combat illegal infringements on their computer and cellphone and on their Internet use. The law firm is carving out a niche in representing consumers who say their rights are being abridged by unwanted text messages on cellphones and undisclosed online meddling with their computers, among other things, in a kind of “digital trespassing,” said Scott Kamber, the firm’s lead attorney in New York. Lawyers and law professors in the area said it’s fertile ground for litigation in uncharted legal territory. “There aren’t that many firms that are regularly focused on Internet class action lawsuits,” said Eric Goldman, an assistant professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and the director of the school’s High Tech Law Institute. Goldman said he sees plenty of questionable conduct by the companies rolling out new technologies. The new firm “will keep companies on their toes,” said David Fish of the Fish Law Firm in Chicago, who worked with plaintiffs in a 2005 lawsuit against companies using spyware and now counsels companies. Kamber & Associates of New York brought five attorneys to the merger, and Blim & Edelson of Chicago contributed three. The eight lawyers who came together in the new firm have about 50 cases pending across the United States, including lawsuits against Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Simon & Schuster Inc., said Jay Edelson, the firm’s lead attorney in Chicago. The firm is seeking class action status in all of the cases and settled those in which it was granted, he said. “With each settlement, we’re able to define legal rights that pertain to the relations between corporations and individuals in the digital age,” Kamber said. In the case against Facebook pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the firm is representing a plaintiff who received unwanted text messages, some of which included “graphic language,” on her cellphone from Facebook users who sent her the messages by mistake. The lawsuit says Facebook is at fault for the invasion of privacy. Facebook has yet to respond in court. Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich declined to comment. Abrams V. Facebook, No. 07-5378 (N.D. Calif.). The case against Microsoft in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington alleges that the company didn’t provide adequate information to the firm’s client about online security software upgrades that allowed the company to identify unlicensed Microsoft software on the plaintiff’s computer, breaching license agreements and violating state consumer protection laws. The company has countered in court filings that there was no breach of contracts and is seeking summary judgment. Johnson v. Microsoft, No. 06-900 (W.D. Wash.). “There’s going to be a lot of new law developed in the area,” Fish said. For instance, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is poised to be the first federal appellate court to decide whether text-messaging falls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act after a KamberEdelson client lost a case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and appealed, Edelson said. Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, No. 07-16356.

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