The Supreme Court today remanded Frank v. Gaos to the Ninth Circuit after determining there were still questions about whether or not the named plaintiffs have standing to challenge the settlement at issue. The standing question has followed the plaintiffs throughout this litigation, and was further complicated by the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, which was decided while Gaos was making its way through the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court has ordered the lower court to determine the standing question in light of these new developments.
Recently, CIR filed an amicus brief in another case that challenges the cy pres doctrine – Perryman v. Romero. If the Ninth Circuit determines that the plaintiffs in Frank v. Goas lack standing, the Supreme Court could hear a similar challenge to cy pres settlements in Perryman. In Gaos, several Justices expressed an interest in reigning in cy pres abuse. At oral arguments, Justice Alito seemed concerned about the free speech implications that CIR pointed out in our amicus brief. And Justice Thomas dissented from the Court’s order to remand the case, expressing his argument that “cy pres payments are not a form of relief to the absent class members and should not be treated as such.”
You can read the Court’s full opinion here.