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Jason S. Miyares
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Attorney General Miyares Urges Supreme Court to Protect Consumers in Class Action Settlements
RICHMOND, VA – Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, as part of a coalition of 20 state attorneys general, filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to grant certiorari in Lowery v. Joffe. The case stems from the settlement of a 2010 class-action lawsuit where plaintiffs alleged that Google's Street View cars collected millions of consumers' private data (emails, passwords, usernames, etc.) on their WiFi networks without consumers' knowledge.
The parties settled, creating a $13 million cash fund. But the plaintiffs, the harmed consumers, received nothing from the fund. Instead, Google will pay almost $4 million to attorneys and more than $9 million to select organizations dealing with consumer protection and education which have nothing to do with the plaintiffs in the case.
"Cy-pres-only settlements like these typically benefit corporate giants and trial lawyers. They rarely deliver justice to the victims harmed by large corporations,” said Attorney General Miyares. "All too often, they are a way for big business to escape justice for injuries they inflicted on consumers. I hope the Supreme Court takes this case and reins in the abuse of this sort of settlement.”
Similar "cy pres-only” settlements, where class members receive no direct benefit, have garnered the attention of federal courts across the country, including the Supreme Court. They are designated when there are residual funds in class action lawsuits, probate matters, and other court cases that cannot be distributed to the class members or beneficiaries for a variety of reasons.
Read the brief HERE.