U.S. District Court, North District of California – The Office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked a federal judge today to reject Google’s $13 million class action settlement regarding its ‘Wi-Spy’ scandal that would send all of the money to attorneys and select organizations instead of harmed consumers.
Today, O.H. Skinner, Solicitor General for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, argued the states’ case at the U.S. District Court, North District of California.
The $13 million settlement stems from a 2010 class action lawsuit where Google’s Street View cars collected millions of consumers’ private data (emails, passwords, usernames, etc.) off their WiFi networks without consumers even knowing. Under the current proposed settlement, harmed consumers would receive nothing from the $13 million cash fund. Instead, Google would pay $4 million to attorneys and $8.75 million to select organizations that have nothing to do with the lawsuit. Similar “cy pres-only” settlements, where class members receive no direct benefit, have garnered the attention of federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court.
“Google admitted to violating people’s privacy, and instead of paying harmed consumers, the tech giant wants to give millions of dollars to organizations that have nothing to do with the litigation,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Settlements like this leave consumers without a leg to stand on, and help propagate the ongoing trend of companies taking our privacy concerns for granted.”
Last month, the Attorney General’s Office filed an amicus brief on behalf of nine states urging the Court to reject the settlement.
Attorney General Brnovich continues to lead bipartisan efforts to continue to protect consumers from being abused in connection with class action settlements. Since 2015, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) has objected to nearly two dozen class action settlements where consumers were not adequately compensated. AGO efforts have produced meaningful results for consumers, including improved settlement terms that ensured consumers received the real benefits from settlements.
Examples of Class Action Settlement Objections by the AGO:
- Class Action Fairness Brief in Motel 6 ICE Settlement
- Coalition Challenges Unfair Dial Corporation Class Action Settlement
- Court Urged to Reject Wines ‘Til Sold Out Class Action Settlement
- AG's Urge Court to Reject Softball Bats Class Action Settlement
- AG Brnovich Urges Court to Reject Flower Website Settlement that Only Gives Consumers Coupons
- AG Brnovich Urges Court to Reject United Healthcare Class Action Settlement
- Arizona Leads Coalition Urging U.S. Supreme Court To Protect Consumers From Class Action Settlement Abuses in Google Case