Saikali Tells Law360 SCOTUS Ruling in Cy Pres Case May Mean Higher Scrutiny for Data Breach Class Actions

As reported by Law360, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to reach the issue of fairness of a cy pres settlement that benefited third parties instead of class members, but the publication speculates that the Court’s criticism of such settlements may be a signal that similar class actions may not be certified in the future. The Court remanded Frank v. Gaos, a class action against the search engine Google, to the Ninth Circuit for review of the plaintiffs’ standing to sue.

“They wouldn’t have sent it back if they had no concerns,” said Shook Partner Al Saikali, chair of the firm’s Privacy and Data Security group, to Law360. “It is not a leap to think that the decision will reverberate throughout the federal system and cause district courts, and perhaps even state courts, to give more scrutiny to whether plaintiffs in privacy and data breach class actions truly have standing.”

Saikali told Law360 earlier this year that the case was one to watch after the Court took the unusual step of asking all parties to brief the issue of standing. “The fact that the court asked for this level of briefing indicated to me that, given its conservative leanings, it is going to take a serious look at what is the requisite type of harm necessary to have standing in these kinds of cases,” he said.

The case is Frank v. Gaos, No. 17-961 (U.S.).