Google Data Sharing Plaintiffs Point to Recent Class Cert. Decision

On Tuesday, a putative class of millions of Google Chrome users directed the court to a decision issued last week in a false advertising case brought against Facebook also in the Northern District of California. The notice of recent decision supports the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, which was filed last October.

The data privacy suit against Google originated in July 2020. It contended that Chrome underhandedly transmitted Chrome users’ personal information to Google, despite those users’ election not to sync their Google accounts with their web browsers. According to the filing, Google’s consent-less conduct violated the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well as wiretap and state and common law privacy directives.

In March 2021, Judge Lucy H. Koh ruled on Google’s motion to dismiss, granting it as to four of the plaintiffs’ ten claims. The users’ breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, intrusion upon seclusion, statutory larceny, California Unfair Competition Law, and California Invasion of Privacy Act withstood scrutiny.

Among other determinations, the court concluded that “Google did not notify users that Google engages in the alleged data collection. To the contrary, Google’s representations might have led a reasonable user to believe that Google did not collect his or her personal information when the user was not synced.”

In their motion for class certification, the plaintiffs argued that the “proposed class is easily certifiable.” In support, the plaintiffs said that their claims stem from “Google’s uniform Chrome contract of adhesion” and pointed out that contract claims are generally well-suited for class treatment.

Earlier this year, the case was assigned to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. Now, the plaintiffs want the court to consider a decision issued last week by fellow District Judge James Donato. As previously reported, the court certified a class of individuals and businesses who paid Facebook to host their advertisements. The substance of their claims is that Facebook exaggerated those advertisements’ prospective “reach.”

The Chrome user plaintiffs are represented by Bleichmar Fonti & Auld LLP as well as Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC and Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP. Google is represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP