Thursday, September 20, 2012

McCall v. Facebook (9th Cir. - Sept. 20, 2012)

There was a glitch with the Ninth Circuit's web site this morning, so the opinions were delayed.

But this one was worth the wait.

You've got two very, very different conceptions of modern class action practice here.  One's articulated by Judge Hug, who authors the majority opinion and approves the settlement.  The other -- a far more cynical view -- is presented by Judge Kleinfeld, who authors the dissent.

This is a pretty good case for Judge Kleinfeld to use to articulate his vision.  Because he gets to use lines like these: 

"The majority approves ratification of a class action settlement in which class members get no compensation at all. They do not get one cent. They do not get even an injunction against Facebook doing exactly the same thing to them again. Their purported lawyers get millions of dollars. Facebook gets a bar against any claims any of them might make for breach of their privacy rights. The most we could say for the cy pres award is that in exchange for giving up any claims they may have, the exposed Facebook users get the satisfaction of contributing to a charity to be funded by Facebook, partially controlled by Facebook, and advised by a legal team consisting of Facebook’s counsel and their own purported counsel whom they did not hire and have never met. Facebook deprived its users of their privacy. And now they are deprived of a remedy."

See what you think.