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Friday, September 20, 2013
by Michael Loatman
Thanks, but no thanks.
That was the response of one of 14 organizations selected to
receive assigned percentages of the several million dollars
remaining in Facebook Inc.'s $20 million Sponsored Stories
Andy Solomon, vice president for public affairs at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 20 that the group "did not
ask to participate" in the settlement for Fraley v. Facebook
Inc., No. 3:11-cv-01726-RS (N.D. Cal. settlement
approved Aug. 26, 2013). Fraley involved whether
Facebook violated users' right of publicity when it paired their
names and profile photos with advertisers' logos and statements
that they "liked" the company. Plaintiffs said that clicking the
"Like" button did not constitute consent for them to be used in
"The Foundation has informed lawyers representing both parties
in the settlement that we respectfully decline to accept any
settlement funds," Solomon said. "Instead, in this case, we have
suggested those funds be redirected to other non-profit
organizations engaged in the underlying issues and identified in
the settlement as possible recipients."
He said the MacArthur Foundation was a grantmaking institution
that does not focus on consumer privacy.
A June 2012 filing by the plaintiffs' attorneys in
Fraley named the MacArthur Foundation as one of the
organizations to receive payments from a cy pres fund. Many courts
have permitted the use of cy pres funds, which distribute class
action settlement funds to nonprofit organizations rather than
class members as deemed appropriate.
Cy pres awards are not without controversy, and the court in
Fraley denied approval August 2012 for the first
settlement agreement in the case for not adequately justifying the
lack of a direct payment to class members. The cy pres fund in the
approved settlement agreement in Fraley is smaller because
it now provides $15 to each class member that filed a claim.
The MacArthur Foundation was scheduled to receive 10 percent of
the cy pres fund.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for
Copyright 2013, The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
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