AG Brnovich Leads Bipartisan Coalition Urging Supreme Court to Protect Consumers from Unfair Google Class Action Settlement

PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich, leading a bipartisan coalition of 16 state Attorneys General from across the country, filed a brief urging the United States Supreme Court to protect consumers from abuse in the Google Referrer Header Privacy Litigation class action settlement. Google settled a far-reaching consumer privacy case for $8.5 million, but class members will receive none of that money. More than $2 million will go toward lawyers and costs and more than $5 million will go to five organizations that had nothing to do with the lawsuit.

“Consumers should be the first priority in any class action settlement," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Class action lawsuits can serve an important role in protecting consumers, but the settlements should be focused on benefiting consumers, and not diverting money to unrelated interests."

In the Amicus Brief, Attorney General Brnovich asked the Supreme Court to step in and for the first time ever set limits on class action settlements that divert all the settlement proceeds to class action lawyers, universities, and think tanks instead of directing that money to consumers. So-called “cy pres” arrangements are a growing part of the class action landscape, and often result in consumers taking home nothing, even in cases that settle for millions of dollars. Indeed, in the case at issue, Google settled a far-reaching consumer privacy case for over $8 million, yet consumers in the class got none of that money.

The brief was filed in Frank et al. v. Gaos, et al., No. 17-961 (U.S.) as a “friend of the court” under Attorney General Brnovich’s statutory authority to speak on behalf of Arizonans in connection with federal class action settlements.

"Our efforts to date, and the briefs we have filed with bipartisan support, have produced meaningful results for consumers, including improved settlement terms," added Brnovich.

Joining Arizona are Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming.

Full copy of the Amicus Brief.