Several privacy lawsuits against Google, Inc. have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware following a ruling by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). In In Re: Google Inc. Cookie Placement Consumer Privacy Litigation, the JPML found that “eight actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the District of Delaware will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.” In a footnote, the JPML also acknowledged the presence of twelve other related actions that may also be consolidated for adjudication. In total, there are at the time of writing 16 cases consolidated in this action.
One of the suits that was transferred yesterday, Heinrich v. Google, Inc., was originally filed on March 13, 2012, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as a class action suit. On behalf of a class of millions of persons similarly situated, the plaintiff alleged that Google intentionally and covertly evaded privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser to track users’ Internet activities for advertising purposes. (Compl. ¶ 1.) The plaintiff alleged that Google’s activities constitute violations of the federal Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2511, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and the Stored Electronic Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701.
The case was stayed to allow the JPML to issue a ruling, after which point it was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.
Updated June 27, 2012 at 09:30 PDT.