Google Moves to Dismiss User Data Collection Suit

On Monday in the Northern District of California, Google filed a motion to dismiss a consumer class-action complaint that alleged that Google surreptitiously used consumers’ cellular data to constantly transmit their personal device data to Google whether or not consumers were using their device, which Google allegedly used for advertising purposes.

In its motion to dismiss, Google claimed that the plaintiffs’ complaint should be dismissed because “it seeks to manufacture liability for fully disclosed practices that are necessary to enable common features on mobile devices,” specifically pointing to the fact that “(l)ike all modern cell phones, Android devices cause data to be transmitted from the device to various servers,” for a variety of functions. Google noted that the plaintiffs alleged that “Google has ‘converted’ their property and unjustly enriched itself because data transmissions sometimes occur over cellular data networks and utilize a portion of Plaintiffs’ cellular data allowances.”

In particular, Google avers that the plaintiffs fail to establish Article III standing because “no Plaintiff claims to have actually suffered the( ) (alleged) injuries,” instead the plaintiffs allegedly refer to “hypothetical types of harm that might arise from the data transmissions at issue.” Rather, Google claims that the plaintiffs alleged a per se injury for the purported use of their cellular data allowances. Google argues that the plaintiffs’ conversion claim fails because the plaintiffs’ cellular data plans “are not property that can be ‘converted,’” the plaintiffs do not allege “facts showing a substantial interference with their cellular data allowances, or any resulting damages,” and the plaintiffs “expressly agreed, as a condition of using their Android devices and Google’s services, that information would be sent from their devices to Google’s servers.” As a result, Google asserts that the plaintiffs’ complaint should be dismissed for lack of Article III standing, and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted in regards to the conversion claim and derivative claim for quantum meruit.

Google has asked the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety. Google is represented by Cooley LLP.