Google Privacy Deal Is ‘Clear Abuse,’ High Court Told

Law360 covers CEI’s Supreme Court case Frank v. Gaos. CEI Director of Litigation Ted Frank will be arguing the case before the court and representing himself, along with fellow class member CEI Senior Attorney Melissa Holyoak.

The opening brief by Theodore H. Frank and Melissa Ann Holyoak of the Competitive Enterprise Institute asserted that the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the deal sets a dangerous precedent by potentially making cy pres settlements, which other circuits have been reluctant to endorse, more common.


“Because of conflicts of interest inherent in the class-action process — especially with regard to settlements — careful judicial scrutiny is necessary lest class counsel and the defendant bargain away the rights of the class members on terms that minimize payoff by the defendant, maximize benefit to class counsel, and leave injured class members out in the cold,” the challengers said. “Yet the Ninth Circuit below took the opposite approach, declaring that close scrutiny of the terms of a cy pres settlement would be ‘an intrusion into the private parties’ negotiations’ and therefore ‘improper and disruptive to the settlement process.”


Though the Ninth Circuit treated the arrangement as equivalent to a settlement providing $8.5 million to class members, the class members are actually getting nothing, while the attorneys are set to receive more than $2 million and the rest of the money is slated to go to third parties like class counsel’s alma maters and nonprofits Google already contributes to, Frank and Holyoak contended. That is neither fair nor reasonable, they argued.

Read the full article at Law360.