Google Reluctant to Ask for ‘Excessive’ Fees in Dusting Off Sanctions

  • Google attorneys at Quinn Emanuel raise questions about veteran litigator David Boies’ role in the case and his $1,950 rate
  • In May, a California court said plaintiffs could recover certain costs for litigation-related misconduct

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google LLC is challenging a demand for legal fees from plaintiffs’ attorneys in a privacy lawsuit in California federal court, calling it “excessive” and questioning the role played by veteran attorney David Boies while charging $1,950 an hour.

Google filing in San Jose, Calif., federal court on July 1 was a response to plaintiffs’ request for more than $1.07 million in fees and expenses as a sanction against the tech company for alleged misconduct related to litigation.

US Judge Susan van Keulen said in May she will allow plaintiffs’ attorneys at firms such as Boies-founded Boies Schiller Flexner and Susman Godfrey to recover some compensation as a penalty against Google.

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She said the tech company failed to disclose some evidence in a timely manner.

The two sides are now arguing over how much Google should pay.

Google attorneys at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan argued in their new filing that plaintiffs “should be required to provide detailed time records.”

The lawyers also claimed that the fees requested “are excessive because they seek reimbursement for time spent on a myriad of unidentified tasks performed by lawyers who were not otherwise involved in this litigation.”

The plaintiffs’ fee claim seeks compensation for 49 hours, or about $96,000, for Boies’ work on the case.

Google’s attorneys said the plaintiffs did not offer “justification for their decision to ask David Boies to come forward to argue the complex issues of the sanctions motion.”

“Mr. Boies was never involved in this case and charges a significantly higher hourly rate ($1,950 per hour) than the many other plaintiffs’ attorneys who were already familiar with the issues at stake,” the attorneys said. by Quinn Emanuel.

A representative for Boies Schiller said in an email Tuesday that the company was “happy to compare our billing rates and total fees with those of Google’s consultancy – and the results achieved.”

Google and a company attorney at Quinn Emanuel did not immediately comment on Tuesday.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys represent consumers who alleged that Google surreptitiously collected web data about them while using what the company calls its “Incognito” private browsing mode.

Google lawyers have denied that the company violated privacy rights and have previously urged van Keulen not to impose penalties.

This is Brown v. Google LLC, United States District Court, Northern District of California, No. 4:20-cv-03664.

For the applicants: Mark Mao of Boies Schiller Flexner; Susman Godfrey’s Bill Carmody; and John Yanchunis of Morgan & Morgan

For Google: Andrew Schapiro of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

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