Supreme Court Appears Divided On Google Settlement That Gave To Charities

CNET cited CEI’s Senior Attorney Ted Frank on Supreme Court case Frank v. Gaos.

Critics like Frank take issue with settlements that only reap cy pres awards and give no funds directly to the plaintiffs. Proponents say it’s a good solution when a settlement would only give pennies to each individual plaintiff.

In the case Frank objected to, lawyers determined each affected Google user would receive less than one dollar. But Frank said that lawyers said those numbers weren’t realistic. What’s more, he said, letting plaintiffs’ lawyers claim large fees — about $2 million in the Google case — for themselves without giving any of the settlement funds to the class members sets up “perverse incentives” for plaintiffs’ lawyers to give the money to third parties instead of their clients. 

“When courts have insisted that attorneys don’t get paid unless their clients get paid, the attorneys find a way to improve the claims process and make money get to the class,” Frank said.

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