Richard Lloyd -v- Google LLC – A Boost For Data Claims And Class Actions

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued it's decision in the case by Mr Lloyd who is a champion of consumer protection against Google. We had commented on the first instance decision here. Mr Lloyd had sought permission to bring a representative, or class, action against Google. Mr Lloyd makes the claim on behalf of a class of more than 4 million Apple iPhone users. He alleges that Google secretly tracked some of their internet activity, for commercial purposes, between 9th August 2011 and 15th February 2012.

The application for permission to proceed was refused on a number of bases but the most significant were that none of the represented class had suffered "damage" under section 13 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the "DPA") and the members of the class did not have the "same interest" within CPR Part 19.6(1) so as to justify allowing the claim to proceed as a representative action. Google had argued that Mr Lloyd could not satisfy the "same interest" requirement and that the claim was "a contrived and illegitimate attempt to shoe-horn a novel "opt-out class action" into the representative action procedure".

No need to prove loss

Unlike in a normal claim, Mr Lloyd did not seek to prove in each case that the alleged wrongful act caused a loss. Instead he claimed the same amount by way of damages on behalf of each person within the defined class without seeking to allege or prove any distinctive facts affecting any of them, save that they did not consent to the abstraction of their data.

The Court of Appeal reversed the judge below and concluded that a claimant can recover damages for loss of control of their data under section 13 of the DPA without proving pecuniary loss or distress and that the members of the class that Mr Lloyd seeks to represent did have the same interest as one another and were identifiable.

Phone hacking

The court...

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