On January 9, 2019, Cohen Milstein and Berman Tabacco, acting as local counsel, filed a shareholder derivative lawsuit on behalf of Alphabet, Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL) shareholders against the Company’s Board of Directors.  The lawsuit was filed with the Superior Court, San Mateo County, California.

The Plaintiffs, Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan and Teamsters Local 272 Labor Management Pension Fund, are current stockholders of the Company. They allege that the tech giant violated state and federal law through its secretive practices regarding both issues of workplace sexual harassment and a serious data breach.

The shareholders are filing this derivative lawsuit—a lawsuit in which shareholders step into the shoes of the Company to enforce their right to bring about corporate governance changes— to challenge the “culture of concealment” that has permitted serious problems to fester at Alphabet.

Case Background

Shareholders seek redress from the injury and losses that they allege were sustained by Alphabet as a result of breaches of fiduciary duty and “culture of concealment” that led Defendants to pursue their own interests and participate or acquiesce in the cover-ups of a long-standing pattern of sexual harassment and discrimination by high-powered male executives. The complaint notes that Alphabet’s directors and officers have failed to adequately respond to several other sex discrimination and sexual harassment issues at the Company.

The lawsuit also alleges that Alphabet failed to disclose a data privacy breach that exposed the personal data of a half a million users of Google+, a social networking website operated by the Company, potentially in violation of a prior Consent Decree the Company entered into with the Federal Trade Commission in 2011.  In particular, the complaint notes that a group of U.S. Senators criticized management for a “culture of concealment and opacity set from the top of the Company.”

The case name is: Northern California Pipe Trades Pension Plan, et. al. v. John L. Hennessey, Case No. 19CIV00149, Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of San Mateo