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Third Circuit Vacates Cy Pres Award in Cookie Litigation

By Sara Beth A.R. Kohut, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently left open the possibility of using a cy pres settlement to resolve class-action claims involving privacy disputes. The precedential decision in In re Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litig., No. 17-1480 (3d Cir. Aug. 6, 2019), vacated a proposed class-action settlement that would have effected a full release from class members without providing them any direct compensation. Instead, the settlement provided for Google to pay $5.5 million that would be distributed among the class counsel, class representatives, and six cy pres recipients selected by Google and the class. The cy pres recipients were data-privacy organizations that agreed to use the funds for research and promotion of browser privacy. The litigation involved allegations that Google Inc. violated internet users’ privacy through deceptive use of web-tracking technology.

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