Lawyers In Google Browsing Data Case Ask For $218Million Fee Award

Google Browsing Data Case

Three U.S. law firms, spearheading a browser data privacy class action against Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google and reaching a settlement earlier this month, have requested a judge to award them $217.6 million in attorney fees.

Boies Schiller Flexner, Morgan & Morgan, and Susman Godfrey estimated the settlement’s value to be up to $7.8 billion. Google isn’t paying damages under the accord, but individual users may sue.

Although Google denied wrongdoing, it agreed to destroy billions of data records in the settlement, resolving claims of secretly tracking the internet use of individuals who believed they were browsing privately. The agreement and attorney fee award await approval by a federal judge in Oakland, California.

In their Tuesday filings, the plaintiffs’ lawyers provided updated information on the billing rates of prominent attorneys, including Boies Schiller founder David Boies, whose rate has increased to $2,330 from $2,110.

Bill Carmody, a partner at Susman Godfrey, now bills at $2,500 an hour. Carmody mentioned in an email that his firm periodically adjusts hourly rates based on legal marketplace trends and case/client appropriateness. There was no immediate response from a Boies spokesperson.

Google hasn’t informed the court whether it will contest the fee bid. A Google spokesperson referred to the lawyers’ request as “just another attempt to generate news and line their own pockets in a case they settled for $0.”

The plaintiffs’ firms stated to the court that their $218 million fee request is 3.5 times the team’s actual time expenditures in the case, which they argued was fair and reasonable.

Billing

“Class Counsel squared off against a large team from Quinn Emanuel, one of the largest and most expensive law firms in the world, where associates routinely bill over $1,000 per hour,” the firms said in their fee request.

Quinn Emanuel declined to comment.

Responses to the plaintiffs’ lawyers’ fee request are due by June 7, with a hearing on the request before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers scheduled for Aug. 7.

The case is Chasom Brown v. Google LLC, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 4:20-cv-03664.

For plaintiffs: David Boies, Mark Mao, Beko Reblitz-Richardson, James Lee, Rossana Baeza, Alison Anderson, and Logan Wright of Boies Schiller Flexner; Bill Carmody, Shawn Rabin, Steven Shepard, Alexander Frawley, and Amanda Bonn of Susman Godfrey; and John Yanchunis, Ryan McGee, and Michael Ram of Morgan & Morgan

For Google: Andrew Schapiro, Teuta Fani, Joseph Margolies, Diane Doolittle, Sara Jenkins, Stephen Broome, Viola Trebicka, Crystal Nix-Hines, Rachael McCracken, Alyssa Olson, Jomaire Crawford, Carl Spilly, and Jonathan Tse of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan