In re Google Referrer Header Privacy Litig. (Goas v. Google, Inc.)

Cy pres award in class action settlement was proper, even though defendant had given donations in the past to some of the cy pres recipients and plaintiff’s counsel were alumni of the recipient institutions.  This decision affirms a cy pres-only settlement awarding $3.2 million in fees to plaintiffs’ attorneys and $5.3 million in cy pres awards to five universities (of which plaintiff’s attorneys were alums).  Distribution of the settlement to class members would have been infeasible as there were 129 million class members, so each would have received only 4 cents.  Nevertheless the amount of the settlement was reasonable given the shakiness of plaintiff’s claims.  The fact that Google had given donations in the past to some of the cy pres recipients or that plaintiff’s counsel were alumni of those institutions was not sufficient ground to overturn the settlement.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (McKeown, J.; Wallace, J., concurring in part & dissenting in part); August 22, 2017; 2017 WL 3601250

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