What happens when there are 129 million winners in a class action lawsuit, each of whom stands to receive 4 cents?
Federal judges in California thought they had an answer. Faced with a privacy invasion lawsuit first filed against Google in 2010, they approved an $8.5 million settlement that split most of the proceeds among six universities and nonprofit groups researching internet privacy issues.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers got more than $2 million.
Google users got nothing.
Enter Ted Frank, who directs the Center for Class Action Fairness at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market advocacy group. He objected to the settlement, as he has to numerous others. This time, he made it to the Supreme Court.
Frank’s beef is simple: The deal approved by federal district and circuit court judges benefited the lawyers and recipients, including programs at universities the lawyers attended. Google was not required to change its search function practices despite the privacy intrusion. And the 129 million-member class remained largely clueless.
What a waste of everyone’s time — except for the attorneys’.