Lane, et al v. Facebook, Inc., et al, No. 10-16380 (9th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Facebook and others complaining that Facebook's program, Beacon, was causing publication of otherwise private information about their outside web activities to their personal profiles without their knowledge or approval. Beacon operated by updating a member's personal profile to reflect certain actions the member had taken on websites belonging to companies that had contracted with Facebook to participate in the Beacon program. At issue on appeal was whether the district court abused its discretion in approving the parties' $9.5 million settlement agreement as "fair, reasonable, and adequate," either because a Facebook employee sat on the board of the organization distributing cy pres funds (DTF) or because the settlement amount was too low. The court concluded that objectors' contention that the settling parties were prohibited from creating DTF to disburse cy pres funds was without merit, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in so concluding. The court also concluded that the settlement was fundamentally fair; the notice in this case adequately apprised class members of all material elements of the settlement agreement and therefore complied with the requirements of Rule 23(e); and the district court properly limited its substantive review of the agreement as necessary to determine that it was "fair, adequate, and free from collusion."
The court issued a Revised version of this opinion on February 26, 2013.