Supreme Court to rule in Google referrer header privacy settlement case

Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

David Zwier reports:

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in three cases Monday, including a dispute over a settlement in a Google privacy case and a Missouri death penalty case.

In Frank v. Gaos [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the question before the court is, “in what circumstances a cy pres award of class action proceeds that provides no direct relief to class members supports class certification and comports with the requirement that a settlement binding class members must be ‘fair, reasonable, and adequate.'” The term cy presderives from the Norman-French phrase, cy pres comme possible, meaning “as near as possible.” Petitioners contend that the application of cy pres to the $8.5 million that Google agreed to pay in 2013 to settle allegations they violated users’ privacy rights, violates Rule 23 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [text] governing class actions. The circuit courts are divided on the issue, with the Third, Fifth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits disallowing the practice and the Ninth Circuit allowing it.

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