Please Note: All capitalized terms not otherwise defined on this website shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Class Action Settlement Agreement (“Settlement Agreement”) dated October 4, 2018. The Settlement Agreement is available on the Court Documents tab of this website.
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|1.||What is this case about?|
Plaintiffs brought this class action lawsuit against Google Inc., as predecessor to Google LLC (“Google” or “Defendant”), and alleged that when Google terminated AdSense publishers for alleged breach of contract, it improperly withheld unpaid amounts in those publishers’ AdSense accounts. Plaintiffs alleged that Google’s conduct, among other things, breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Google has at all times denied any and all alleged wrongdoing.
In a class action, one or more people called proposed Class Representatives (here, Free Range Content, Inc., Coconut Island Software, Inc., Taylor Chose, and Matthew Simpson (“Plaintiffs”)) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. This group is called a “class” and the persons included in a settlement of these claims are called “Settlement Class Members.” One court resolves the issues for all of the Settlement Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Settlement Class. The Honorable Beth Labson Freeman is in charge of this Action. The parties agreed to resolve these matters before these issues were decided by the Court. The Court still has to decide whether to finally approve the settlement.
|2.||How do I know if I am a part of the Settlement Class?|
The Court has preliminarily certified a class for settlement purposes only. This class (the “Settlement Class”) is defined as:
All persons or entities Google’s records indicate are located within the United States, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the United States Minor Outlying Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Canada, whose AdSense account Google disabled or terminated on any date between May 20, 2010 and May 7, 2018, and whose last AdSense unpaid amounts Google withheld in their entirety, and permanently, on any date between May 20, 2010 and May 7, 2018 in connection with such disablement or termination, and where the sum withheld totals $10 or more.
Settlement Class Member is defined as any member of the Settlement Class who does not opt out of the settlement.
Additional Settlement Class Members are a small group of newly identified Settlement Class Members who were sent direct notice of the settlement on or after October 4, 2018 and not before.
|3.||What are the terms of the settlement?|
Under the proposed settlement, Google has agreed to create a Settlement Fund of $11,000,000. This Settlement Fund will provide compensation to Settlement Class Members, pay for notice and administration costs, provide for any approved Service Awards to the Class Representatives who filed the case, and compensate the attorneys for any approved fee, cost, and expense awards.
If the settlement is finally approved, Settlement Class Members will be prevented from bringing any further claims against Google for any conduct relating to the termination of, or withholding of unpaid amounts from, any Settlement Class Member’s Google AdSense account.
|4.||How will the Settlement Fund be distributed?|
The lawyers for the Settlement Class (“Class Counsel”) will ask the Court to approve the following payments from the Settlement Fund:
|5.||How can I get a Settlement Payment?|
The Claim Submission Deadline has passed for all Settlement Class Members.
If you are an additional Settlement Class Member who was sent direct notice on or after October 4, 2018, the Claim Submission Deadline was December 17, 2018, and it has passed. Additional Settlement Class Members needed to submit a Claim Form no later than December 17, 2018 to receive a Settlement Payment.
The Claim Submission Deadline for all other Settlement Class Members, who were sent direct notice before October 4, 2018, was September 4, 2018. All other Settlement Class Members needed to submit a Claim Form no later than September 4, 2018 to receive a Settlement Payment.
If you did not file a Claim Form prior to the applicable deadline, you will not receive a payment. Note that for each Valid Claim, the default payment method will be ACH Transfer to the Claimant’s bank account unless the Claimant specified otherwise on their Claim Form.
|6.||How much will I receive from the settlement?|
If you are a Settlement Class Member, and you submitted a valid and timely Claim Form prior to the Claim Submission Deadline that applies to you, you are eligible to receive a payment from the Settlement Fund. Your share of the Settlement Fund will depend on several factors, including the unpaid amount for your terminated AdSense account shown in Google’s records. It will also depend upon the number of Valid Claims approved for payment and the total Amounts Allegedly Withheld for all Valid Claims. The amount of payment to each Claimant will vary.
All Claimants fall into one of three “Payment Groups,” described below. All three groups were bound by the applicable contract for the United States, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the United States Minor Outlying Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Canada. Your Payment Group depends on whether Google withheld your last AdSense unpaid amounts in connection with termination under the AdSense contract effective from May 20, 2010 through April 22, 2013 (“2010 Terms and Conditions”), or the contract effective from April 23, 2013 through May 7, 2018 (“2013 Terms of Service:”); and whether you submitted a notice of dispute to Google within 30 days of notice of termination or withholding in connection with such termination.
There are three possible payment scenarios. In some scenarios, Claimants may be paid an Adjusted Amount. The Adjusted Amounts are based on percentages of the Claimant’s individual Amount Allegedly Withheld. These Adjusted Amounts are as follows: 100% for Payment Group 1, 50% for Payment Group 2, and 30% for Payment Group 3.
No Settlement Payment shall be made to a Claimant who has elected to receive a check if the total Adjusted Amount is less than $3.00.
The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to finally approve the settlement. Payments will be made if the Court approves the settlement and after any appeals are resolved. Please be patient.
|7.||How do I get out of the settlement?|
The Opt-Out deadline has passed.
The Opt-Out deadline for additional Settlement Class Members who were sent direct notice on or after October 4, 2018 was December 17, 2018. If you did not want to be part of the settlement, an Opt-Out Form must have been submitted no later than December 17, 2018.
The Opt-Out deadline for all other Settlement Class Members, who were sent direct notice before October 4, 2018, was September 4, 2018. All other Settlement Class Members who did not want to be part of the settlement needed to submit an Opt-Out Form no later than September 4, 2018.
If you opt-out of the settlement, you will not be bound by the Settlement Agreement, you will not receive a Settlement Payment, and you will not be allowed to object to the settlement.
|8.||Do I have a lawyer in this case?|
Yes. The Court has appointed Class Counsel to represent you and other Settlement Class Members. In this case, Class Counsel are Steve W. Berman and Robert F. Lopez of the law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by another lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.
|9.||How will the lawyers be paid?|
Since the beginning of this case, the attorneys representing the Settlement Class have not received any payment for their legal services or any reimbursement of the costs or out-of-pocket expenses they have incurred. Class Counsel plans to ask the Court to award attorneys’ fees from the Settlement Fund not to exceed $2,750,000, which is 25% of the gross Settlement Fund and reimbursement of costs and expenses not to exceed $116,045.
|10.||Will the Court review the fairness of the settlement?|
The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing (“Hearing”) on February 7, 2019 at 1:30 PM. It will take place at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, Robert F. Peckham Federal Building & United States Courthouse, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113, in Courtroom 3 on the 5th Floor. At this Hearing, the Court will decide whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will also consider whether to approve Service Awards and whether to award attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses to Class Counsel. If there are Objections, the Court will consider them. The motions by Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses and Service Awards for the Class Representatives are available for viewing at the Court Documents page.
The date of the Hearing may change without further notice to the Settlement Class. Settlement Class Members should check this Settlement Website or the Court’s PACER website to confirm that the date has not been changed.
|11.||How do I object to the settlement?|
The Objection deadline for additional Settlement Class Members who were sent direct notice on or after October 4, 2018 is December 17, 2018.
The Objection deadline for all other Settlement Class Members, who were sent direct notice before October 4, 2018, was September 4, 2018. The deadline has passed. All other Settlement Class Members must have submitted an Objection by September 4, 2018.
If you are an additional Settlement Class Member who was sent direct notice on or after October 4, 2018 and you and do not opt out of the Settlement Class, you may object to any aspect of the settlement. This includes commenting on the applications for Class Representative Service Awards or the award of attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.
Your completed Objection must be submitted no later than December 17, 2018 on this website or via postal mail to the following address:
Free Range Content v. Google c/o GCG P.O. Box 10537 Dublin,OH 43017-4537
To submit an Objection on the Settlement Website you will need to use the Opt-Out or Objection password that was printed on the notice you received.
Any Objection must be in writing and must:
Settlement Class Members who fail to submit timely written Objections in the manner specified above by the Objection deadline that applies to them will waive their right to object to any aspect of the settlement.
|12.||Do I need to attend the Final Fairness Hearing?|
The deadlines for objecting to the settlement have passed.
The Objection deadline for additional Settlement Class Members who were sent direct notice on or after October 4, 2018 was December 17, 2018. Additional Settlement Class Members must have submitted an Objection by December 17, 2018.
The Objection deadline for all other Settlement Class Members, who were sent direct notice before October 4, 2018, was September 4, 2018. All other Settlement Class Members must have submitted an Objection by September 4, 2018.
Your completed Objection needed to have been submitted no later than September 4, 2018 online or via postal mail to the following address:
Free Range Content v. Google c/o GCG P.O. Box 10537 Dublin, OH 43017-4537
Any Objection had to be in writing and needed to:
Settlement Class Members who failed to submit timely written Objections in the manner specified above have waived their right to object to any aspect of the settlement.
|13.||How can I get more information?|
This website summarizes the proposed settlement. It does not describe all of its details. For the precise terms and conditions of the settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement and related documents here. Additional information about the settlement, including a copy of the Settlement Agreement, may be obtained by:
Please do not telephone the Court or the Court Clerk’s Office to inquire about the settlement.