Article features commentary from Lieff Cabraser partner Douglas Cuthbertson, a lead attorney on the case

As reported by Courthouse News, on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins of the Northern District of California signaled that he will likely grant final approval to a recent settlement aimed at resolving privacy invasion claims in a class action lawsuit against Google.

The lawsuit, filed by Lieff Cabraser in April 2021 on behalf of a class of Android users, alleged that a COVID-19 contact-tracing app co-created by Google improperly exposed users’ private data. According to the complaint, a security flaw in Google’s app gave third parties access to users’ protected personal medical information.

In a motion filed on Tuesday, plaintiffs claimed that Google knew of the issue as early as February 2021, but chose not to inform the public and not to take measures to address the alleged security flaws.

The terms of the deal require Google to fix any related medical privacy intrusions, create a way to find and eliminate any data it may have improperly obtained/provided, and confirm that certain security measures are and will remain in place to better protect the privacy of contract tracing app users going forward.

Lieff Cabraser partner Douglas Cuthbertson, a lead attorney on the case, noted that the case took significant technical expertise directed toward understanding “arcane details.”

“We are not aware of any case that has been brought on these claims and these kinds of technical issues around system laws,” noted Cuthbertson. “That is really where a lot of the time was spent and why we think it’s reasonable. We short-circuited a tremendous amount of time in discovery.”

He added that the case was unprecedented for a class action settlement with a big tech company.

“When we filed this case in April, we were really alone in doing this,” he said. “We were taking a significant risk.”

Read the full article on the Courthouse News website.

About Douglas Cuthbertson

A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s New York office, Douglas Cuthbertson has a practice focused on domestic and international consumer fraud cases, digital privacy, and securities fraud.

His past and present work includes securities litigation against the Brazilian petroleum corporation Petrobras, a financial fraud action against Morgan Stanley, consumer litigation against Volkswagen, as well as an airline overcharging case against British Airways where he was designated as Class Counsel (Dover v. British Airways).  Doug has also litigated numerous class action consumer protection cases under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act against large banks, satellite service providers, and utilities, helping result in the largest monetary settlements in the history of the TCPA to end harassing robocalls to millions of consumers.

Doug has acted in digital privacy litigation against Google, Disney, Viacom, and others, including as co-counsel for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and as Class Counsel in McDonald v. Kiloo A/S (and two related actions) on behalf of parents concerning the unlawful collection and use of their children’s personal information from mobile games to track and monetize kids. Leading nonprofit advocates described these settlements as “the biggest change to the children’s app market,” impacting Defendants’ “business models” to prevent children from being “targeted with the most insidious and manipulative forms of marketing.”

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