Yahoo Privacy Plaintiffs Want Judge Who Ruled Against Google

November 18, 2013
The Washington Post

Lawyers mounting privacy lawsuits over Yahoo! Inc.’s mail service are lining up to be heard by U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh after she ruled against Google Inc. in a case mirroring their clients’ accusations that Yahoo intercepted e-mails for its own gain without getting consent.

One plaintiff who filed a complaint Nov. 15 against Yahoo made a request that same day that his case be joined with related cases before Koh. His move followed an Oct. 25 request by plaintiffs in another suit against the largest U.S. Web portal to join an Oct. 2 complaint Yahoo assigned Oct. 23 to Koh in San Jose, California.

Koh rejected Mountain View, California-based Google’s bid in September to dismiss a privacy suit over its Gmail service, saying the operator of the world’s largest search engine hadn’t explicitly sought consent for all its uses of personal information gleaned from e-mails.

Her ruling was “enormously important” for plaintiffs in group privacy suits, lawyer David Straite said in an e-mail after the Google ruling and before his firm, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, filed the Nov. 15 complaint. The plaintiff in the case, Brian Pincus, is seeking class-action status on behalf of others affected by Yahoo’s privacy practices, and is demanding more than the $5 million minimum threshold for damages in such cases, Straite said today.

Koh hasn’t ruled yet on Google’s request to appeal her decision, which the company said is so “novel” that it warrants review by a higher court.

Yahoo’s Request

Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, California, doesn’t comment on lawsuits, Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. For efficiency, Yahoo asked the court on Oct. 30 to join two other privacy suits against it to the Oct. 2 case brought by plaintiff John Kevranian, according to filings.

It “appears likely that there will be an unduly burdensome duplication of labor and expense or conflicting results if the cases are conducted before different judges,” the company said.

The law firm that filed the Kevranian case, Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP in Burlingame, California, asked this month that it and Kirtland & Packard LLP be allowed to lead a possible class-action suit... (To view the entire article, please click HERE)