LinkedIn $13M E-Mail Class Settlement Approved

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By Joseph Wright

Feb. 17 — A $13 million class settlement with LinkedIn Corp. is fair and reasonable, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held Feb. 16.

The settlement provided for meaningful relief and resulted in more thorough disclosures about the e-mail harvesting practices at issue, Judge Lucy H. Koh said in an order approving the settlement.

The settlement included a $3.25 million attorney fee award and $1,500 incentive awards for each of nine lead plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs challenged LinkedIn's practices of harvesting potential members from its users' e-mail accounts and sending potential members invitations using existing members' images and identities. LinkedIn failed to disclose that it might send up to three e-mails to potential members, the court found.

In November 2014, the court denied that LinkedIn was immune from the claims under the First Amendment or the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230.

The court overruled 86 total objections, only nine of which it said were procedurally valid. Over half of the objectors argued the case was frivolous and shouldn't have been brought.

Munger Tolles & Olson LLP represented LinkedIn. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, Berger & Hipskind LLP and Russ August & Kabat represented the plaintiffs.

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