[Editor Charlie sez: Once again, the techno-fabulist version of Confucius Institutes get millions in a Google class action settlement that pays class members ZERO.]
A federal appeals court on Tuesday signed off on a controversial $8.5 million deal that Google Inc. reached to settle a class action claiming the company shared information about users’ search queries without their consent.
The deal, approved by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, provides no money to the 129 million class members, but the lawyers who brought the case are due to receive nearly $2.1 million. About $5 million in funds will be split among six nonprofit groups.
Settlements that only offer so-called cy pres funds have come under close scrutiny in recent years. Chief Justice John Roberts openly questioned “when, if ever, such relief should be considered” when the court declined to take up a large cy pres settlement involving Facebook Inc. in 2013.
In the Google case at the Ninth Circuit, objectors led by Theodore Frank, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness, complained some of the cy pres recipients had previously received funding from Google. Frank, who also represented objectors to the Facebook settlement, pointed out that half of the chosen groups—Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and the Center for Information, Society and Policy at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law—are housed at alma maters of plaintiffs attorneys in the case.