google website open on a laptopA $5.5 million settlement resolving allegations that Google circumvented users’ privacy to secretly track their online activity has been rejected the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lead plaintiffs accused Google of bypassing privacy settings on Internet Explorer and Safari browsers in a class action lawsuit filed in 2012.

The Google class action alleged that “cookies,” a way that software companies track users’ activities online, were put into place when users clicked on a certain websites. Web browsers can be set to block cookies, but Google reportedly found a way around the blockers using a program called doubleclick.net.

Several other class action lawsuits were consolidated and the litigation proceeded until 2016, when a settlement was reached between the parties.

Under the terms of the Google Cookie class action settlement, Google agreed to pay $5.5 million to nonprofit or educational institutions that push for public awareness of online security and privacy. The company also agreed to put systems into place that would notify and instruct consumers about how to expire or delete cookies.



Class Members included those who used a Safari or Internet Explorer web browser in 2011 and 2012, and who visited a website from which doubleclick.net cookies were placed even though their browser settings were set to block such cookies. Class Members, however, were not entitled to any award under the terms of the Google Cookie class action lawsuit.

One Class Member, Theodore Frank, objected to the terms of the settlement agreement. Frank argued that Class Members, rather than public interest organizations, should benefit from the monetary award provided by the settlement.

Frank took his argument to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Third Circuit disagreed with certain terms of the Google Cookie class action settlement, specifically, that Class Members would give up their right to sue under the terms of the agreement.

Though it did not dispute the appropriateness of distributing funds to nonprofits and educational groups, an action called “cy pres” in the legal world, the Third Circuit said that Google should not be able to shield itself from future litigation after this action.

“We believe that, in some Rule 23(b)(2) class actions, a cy pres-only settlement may properly be approved,” noted the order remanding the Google Cookie class action settlement. “But here the district court’s cursory certification and fairness analysis were insufficient for us to review its order certifying the class and approving the settlement.”



The Google Cookie class action settlement will be remanded to the district court for additional findings on the fairness of awarding the entire monetary award to nonprofit and educational groups.

The class action settlement objector is representing himself along with Adam E. Schulman of the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness.

The original class action plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Bartimus Frickleton & Robertson PC, Strange & Butler LLP and Silverman Thompson Slutkin White LLC, among others.

The Google Cookie Class Action Lawsuit is In re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, Case No. 17-1480, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

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Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.

31 Comments

  • Karen Wong August 11, 2020

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    • Rachel Wilson April 23, 2020

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  • Tresa Gibson April 21, 2020

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  • Lisa M Hankins April 16, 2020

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  • Lisa Howell April 16, 2020

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  • Emma Bozeman March 9, 2020

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  • Brittney Joseph March 6, 2020

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  • mike perkins March 6, 2020

    add me to this list also….

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  • BRIDGETT BELITZ February 25, 2020

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    • Kym Medina February 26, 2020

      I always receive msg about adding cookies.

  • Gloria T Czigle January 7, 2020

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  • peggy kalinski December 31, 2019

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  • Brenda Reed December 31, 2019

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  • Danielle S. December 14, 2019

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  • cindy wallace October 5, 2019

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  • JENNIFER Kim August 18, 2019

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  • Michael Reidy August 16, 2019

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  • jeri ann steinegger August 13, 2019

    I get textxs all the time with a nest verification code. Have no idea what it means. Please add me.

  • Eric Nguyễn August 12, 2019

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  • Kyle Fisher August 10, 2019

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  • SOPHIA IVY August 10, 2019

    I have a google product,what is wrong with these companies

  • Gloria J Memenga August 9, 2019

    Yes add me please

  • David Randall August 9, 2019

    Google sends me very spooky targeted advertising daily, and the does the same to my wife and kids. They only way anyone could have the kinds of information we are talking about is eavesdropping via our cell phones.

    It seems simple enough, we can’t use the internet or cell phones realistically without Google violating our privacy and profiting from information they don’t have permission to collect.

    Clearly this is wrong.

  • Bonnie Hartmann August 9, 2019

    Oh my gosh! Yes please add me. Every time I turn around I am slammed with Google tracking from my searches. :-(

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