Legal

US Supreme Court Sends Google Settlement Back To Lower Court For Review

U.S. Supreme Court

A Google settlement with consumers is getting a second look after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a lower court should review the $8.5 million settlement.

According to a report in Bloomberg, citing the 8-1 ruling Wednesday (March 20) the decision did not solve the issue of the permissibility of class action settlements in which compensation isn't provided to people hurt by the actions. The court took up the Google privacy case to address that, the news outlet noted.

The settlement was over allegations that Google provided internet search terms of users to third-party websites. None of the money from the settlement went to the Google users, instead reportedly going to attorneys and privacy advocates. Google first said it wasn't feasible to distribute the money to 129 million members of the class action lawsuit, but last fall argued the suit should be tossed out, including the settlement. That stance came after judges questioned whether the plaintiffs had the legal standing to seek damages. The U.S. Supreme court said Wednesday a federal appeals court or trial judge should take the first look at the issue of standing, noted the report.

With consumer lawsuits targeted at technology companies becoming more common as personal data is used and misused, the ruling on standing is very important to the tech companies. In this case, Google was sued back in 2010 and agreed to pay the $8.5 million settlement. A quarter of that went to attorney fees with the rest going largely to six organizations and four universities, noted the report.

Its been a busy day for Google. In addition to the ruling on this case, the internet search giant was slapped with a $1.7 billion fine by the European Union for what the EU called anti-competitive actions pertaining to display ads. Google has been fined a total of three times by the EU since the nearly 10-year investigation was launched.

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