State AGs, ABA Press High Court Over Google Privacy Deal

Law360 cited CEI’s Ted Frank and Melissa Holyoak on the Supreme Court privacy settlement with Google. 

Petitioners Theodore H. Frank and Melissa Ann Holyoak of the Competitive Enterprise Institute argued in their opening brief last week that such cy pres deals should be used only sparingly and that the Ninth Circuit’s decision to uphold the “abusive” settlement Google reached with users to resolve claims that the tech giant unlawfully shared search histories threatened to make these troubling arrangements more common, a stance backed by nine of the amicus briefs lodged with the high court.


These briefs included one filed by a bipartisan coalition of 19 state attorneys general, who argued that such cy pres agreements ‘represent the worst possible outcome for consumers,’ who are cut out of any direct compensation while others benefit. In the Google case in particular, class attorneys stand to receive $2.1 million, while the remaining $6.4 million would be sent to five organizations not directly involved in the dispute, including AARP and the World Privacy Forum.

“Cy pres-only settlement arrangements embody the worst flaws of the class action settlement system and are notable in their disservice to consumers,” said the coalition, which is led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “In cy pres-only deals, defendants and class counsel secure their own goals from the litigation while bypassing the class.”

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