U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Objection of $8.5M Google Settlement; Class Members Get Nothing, Funds Sent to Lawyers’ Alma Maters

Legal Newsline quoted Melissa Holyoak on cy pres abuse in class action settlements.

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – Petitioners opposing Google’s settlement of a class action lawsuit are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to provide greater clarity on the use of the doctrine of “cy pres” after a federal appeals court approved the agreement, sending millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations that are not plaintiffs in the case.

“It (cy pres) skips over class members completely,” Melissa A. Holyoak, senior attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness and a class member in the suit, told Legal Newsline. “The Google settlement epitomizes cy pres abuse in class actions.”

Holyoak petitioned for review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision along with Ted Frank, founder of CCAF.

Cy pres, a French expression that means “as close as possible,” is a doctrine in which a settlement steers funds not to the plaintiff or members of the class but instead to a selected non-plaintiff, an organization related to an issue in the case chosen as a beneficiary.

Read the full article here.