WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court was embedded in inconsistent lines on Wednesday on class action lawsuits that reward lawyers and groups outside of millions of individual class members.

Given an Internet privacy agreement between Google and [8] [8.5] Up to 129 million customers receiving only 4 cents, several liberal judges said it makes sense for lower courts to divide the money among groups that inform consumers and solutions should appeal.

The more conservative judges, however, were hostile to plaintiffs and defendants who work out their own settlements and bankrupt potential beneficiaries.

"The lawyers get money and much of it" The students do not get any money, "said Justice Minister Samuel Alito," and money is given to organizations that they may or may not like, and who may not even do anything that even suits them indirectly useful. How can such a system be considered as a reasonable system? "

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Settlements like Google's are approved by judges when participants either do not claim all the money or, as in this case, there are so many of them that the administrative costs are enormous and the individual expenses are minimal.

In the case under discussion on Wednesday, a federal district judge in California voted and an appeals court upheld that Six universities and non-profit Internet privacy groups sprayed nearly $ 6 million, and plaintiffs' lawyers received more than $ 2 million.

Some recipients were previously funded by Google, which was the Chief Justice John Roberts referred to as "fishy." Several were also associated with universities where Attorneys who were referred to by Associated Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a "semblance of favoritism and collusion." One, the AARP, focuses on people over 50 – "as if this is just a problem for the elderly," joked Roberts.

However, the liberal judges were more sympathetic to the lower court judges, who recognize the difficulties in distributing money classes and instead seek out charitable organizations.

"Why is this an abuse?" Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said. "Because the students would get practically nothing and nothing at all, and at least an indirect benefit would arise here."

In split court, judges on both sides recognized a possible way out: Google's original challengers They may not have proven that they were hurt when their search terms were posted on third-party websites. The Supreme Court has said that such a violation must be proven and not only possible.

If so, the court could return the case to the US Court of Appeals for the ninth state, or even dismiss it altogether.

What is? Several judges said that establishing the use of so-called "cy-pres" settlements could be more a task of the Congress or the Regulatory Commission of the Federal Court than the courts.

Ted Frank leads the Center for Class Action Fairness at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. (Photo: Competitive Enterprise Institute)

The federal regulations require class actions to be "fair, reasonable and proportionate" in the eyes of the court. If it is not reasonable to distribute the proceeds among millions of users – or, more commonly, when money is not used – severance pay in favor of third parties will be judged as "as close as possible" to the desired goal. [19659006] Originally Paloma Gaos went to court in 2010, after the Google search terms she used were published on third-party websites, a common practice. At the time of the later deal, she and other members of the class each received $ 5,000, but the broader group of 129 million people who used Google's search engine in the United States from 2006 to 2014 turned out to be an impractical number for notification, processing, shipping, and other costs. [19659006] Ted Frank, head of the Center for Class Action Fairness at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, objected to the agreement that lawyers were overpaid, preferred beneficiaries were not properly selected, and Google did not need to change their business practices.

court papers that an endeavor to even identify and compensate a significant proportion of class members would require the resolution fund. The six beneficiaries – AARP, World Privacy Forum and programs at Harvard, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Chicago-Kent College of Law – made proposals that were in line with the applicants' allegations.


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