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Google agrees to mediate with Gmail users

Many individuals throughout the nation, including in the state of Pennsylvania, use the Gmail service, offered through Google, for email. In 2010, as a result of learning that Google was scanning the emails sent via Gmail for the purpose of determining how to target advertisements, multiple users of the email service filed a lawsuit against Google alleging that the action was a violation of state and federal wiretap laws. Those complainants sought class-action status.

Recently that request was denied by a U.S District Judge. Though that decision precludes complainants from moving forward in one large group, they may still pursue their claims. This would have to be done individually or in small groups however and because of the great expense tied to each case, it is not likely that many would participate. Another option is mediation, which to the surprise of some, despite the recent court victory Google has agreed to participate in. The mediation is set to take place this month.

Since the option of proceeding as a class-action is no longer available, mediation is likely appealing to the Gmail users for a variety of reasons. The most compelling of which probably concerns the expense tied to this alternative dispute resolution method. In addition, the matter will be resolved much more quickly than it would have if it went to trial. There is speculation that the move is advantageous to Google as well. Choosing to participate in mediation could prevent complainants from appealing the recent decision of the judge, potentially resulting in a great savings.

Source: Site Pro News, “Google, Gmail Complainants to Give Mediation a Try,” Jennifer Cowan, March 26, 2014

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