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Google Won’t Face Group E-Mail Privacy Lawsuit: Judge

Publication Date: 
March 18, 2014
Source: 
Bloomberg News
Author: 
Joel Rosenblatt

Professor Deborah Hensler is cited in this Bloomberg News article for comments she made regarding the Google email privacy lawsuit and how it could become the "largest group lawsuit ever" prior to the judge's decision in the case. 

Google Inc. (GOOG) won a major victory in its fight against claims it illegally scanned private e-mail messages to and from Gmail accounts, defeating a bid to unify lawsuits in a single group case on behalf of hundreds of millions of Internet users.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, yesterday refused to let the case proceed as a class action, which would have allowed plaintiffs to pool resources and put greater pressure on Google to settle. If individuals pursue their claims against the owner of world’s largest search engine, they’ll need to use their own financial resources to litigate.

E-mail users claimed Google intercepted, read and mined the content of e-mail messages for targeted advertising and to build user profiles. Legal experts including Stanford Law School Professor Deborah Hensler said before yesterday’s ruling that while the plaintiffs faced difficulty joining forces, the case stood to potentially become the largest group lawsuit ever. The amount at stake could have reached into the trillions of dollars if, as the plaintiffs argued, each person was eligible for damages of $100 a day for violations of federal wiretap law.