CALIFORNIA CLASS ACTION LAW

Tag: Google

Google Settles Google Buzz Class Action Litigation for $8.5 Million Cy Pres Fund, With No Money to Class Members, But a 25% Attorneys’ Fee Award

Building 43 at Google - Buzz Alert!
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On Friday, plaintiffs submitted their unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement in the In re Google Buzz User Privacy Litigation, Case No. 5:10-CV-00672-JW, Docket No. 41 (N.D. Cal. Motion Date Sept. 3, 2010).  The settlement calls for an $8.5 million cy pres fund, but no award to individual class members, other than $2,500 incentive awards to lead plaintiffs.

Plaintiff alleged the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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MDL Panel Transfers Google Street View Litigation to Northern District of California

Nürnberg Google Street View
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The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred In re Google, Inc. Street View Electronic Communications Litigation, — F. Supp. 2d —-, 2010 WL 3303204 (U.S. Jud. Pan. Mult. Lit. Aug. 17, 2010) to the Northern District of California, assigned to Hon. James Ware.  The cases involve common factual questions arising out of allegations that Google intentionally intercepted electronic communications sent or received over class members’ open, non-secured wireless networks.

Plaintiffs in one District of District of Columbia action moved for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings of this litigation in the District of District of Columbia. Plaintiffs in the other District of District of Columbia action and a potentially-related action supported the motion. Read the rest of this entry »

Central District Approves $4,385,000 and 30% Attorney Fee Award in Class Settlement of Cicero v. DirecTV, Inc.

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Judge Avern Cohn of the Central District of California approved a wage and hour class settlement in Cicero v. DirecTV, Inc., 2010 WL 2991486 (C.D. Cal. July 27, 2010) (not reported).  Judge Cohn approved a payout fund to class members of $4,385,000, a 30% attorney fee award of $1,950,000 to class counsel, and incentive awards of $7,500 and $5,000 the representative plaintiffs.

The class action claimed violations of California’s wage and hour laws.  The named plaintiffs are former satellite television installation and service technicians who brought this case individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated current and former satellite installation and/or service technicians against their former employers Mountain Center, Inc., and Ironwood Communications Inc. (currently DirecTV, Inc. doing business as DirecTV Home Services, collectively “Defendant”) for allegedly violating California’s labor and unfair competition laws. Named Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant violated applicable provisions of the Industrial Welfare Commission’s (“the IWC”) Wage Orders, the Labor Code, and the Business and Professions Code by: (1) failing to provide employees duty-free meal periods; (2) failing to reimburse employees for tools necessary to the performance of the employees’ work; (3) failing to pay wages for all hours worked, including hours worked in excess of eight per day and forty per week; (4) failing to pay all wages owed employees upon termination of the employment relationship; and (5) failing to provide accurate wage statements.

The parties engaged in two mediations of the matter before the Hon. William Cahill (Ret.) in March, 2009, and subsequently before the Hon. Diane Wayne (Ret.).

The Court approved the attorneys’ fees request, which represented 30% of the total gross settlement amount.  The Court noted that:

California recognizes the common fund doctrine for the award of attorneys’ fees. Under California and Ninth Circuit precedent, a court has discretion to calculate and award attorneys’ fees using either the lodestar method or the percentage-of-the-fund method. Wersha v. Apple Computer, Inc., 91 Cal.App. 4th 224, 253 (2001); Vizcaino v. Microsoft Corp., 290 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir.2002). The Court, in its discretion, finds that the percentage method is a fair, reasonable, and appropriate method for awarding attorneys’ fees in this case. . . .

Overall, although this percentage is slightly higher than the 25% benchmark for fees in class action cases, it is consistent with other wage and hour class actions where the recovery is less than $10 million. Moreover, there have been no objections to the amount of attorneys’ fees. The Court therefore finds that the amount of attorneys’ fees is warranted by the complexity of the case and Class Counsel’s dedication of extraordinary time and resources to the prosecution of this claim.

Id. **6-7.

By CHARLES H. JUNG