News

Grossman, Raile Author Successful U.S. Supreme Court Petition on Behalf of BakerHostetler Client

News / May 1, 2018

At its April 27, 2018, conference, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari on a petition authored by BakerHostetler Partner Andrew Grossman and Associate Richard Raile on behalf of Ted Frank in the case Frank v. Gaos. The case is an appeal of Ninth Circuit decision upholding the settlement of a class action against Google. Although Google was ordered to pay $8.5 million for sharing users’ search data with third-party websites, none of the class members received any payment. Class counsel argued that because the settlement amount could not feasibly be distributed to the estimated 129 million class members, the legal doctrine of cy pres (“as near as”) should apply. The attorneys representing the class were awarded 25 percent ($2.125 million) and the rest of the money was to be distributed to privacy-related nonprofits, including some already supported by Google, as well as educational institutions with ties to the attorneys involved in the case.

Frank, as a member of the class, filed suit objecting the cy pres settlement as not meeting the required standard of being “fair, reasonable and adequate” and asking if a class action award that provides no direct relief to class members even qualifies for class certification. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overruled Frank’s objection, leaving the settlement in place. Frank then brought the appeal to Grossman in hopes of earning a Supreme Court review.

The following outlets published articles covering the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in Frank v. Gaos: