Friday, October 16, 2015

LinkedIn Lawsuit-Should it be?

I received the following email today about a settlement between LinkedIn and it’s users.  It came across my phone this morning and I almost put it in the spam folder, thinking it was a spam email.  I didn’t want to open it and it get a virus on my phone, you know?  I opened it on a laptop computer and I actually read it.  Then I googled it just in case it was fake!  It turns out that it is a legit lawsuit.

Linked in had a service that when you signed up you could import your email contact list to send a note saying to connect with you.  However, LinkedIn sent two more emails to your contacts if they didn’t respond, causing “spam mail”.  In the terms of the original email contact list the user only agreed to one email being sent to their contacts, not a total of 3 if they didn’t get a response.  Thus the lawsuit.

The lawsuit pays up to $1500 per claimant, but it probably wouldn’t get that much after everyone signs up and lawyer fees are paid.  And if

I have a couple of problems with the lawsuit.
1.       Spam emails are annoying, especially if I didn’t consent to them anyway.  However, it is the original user that is getting the settlement, not the person who was spammed (even though I was added to people’s emails and did get spammed myself).
2.       Who actually reads those agreements anyway?  You are looking for a way to connect with other business professionals, not reading fine lines in user terms.  I am willing to bet that it was a lawyer or another like-minded person  (i.e. sue happy person) who filed the lawsuit.
3.       Is it fair for a company to pay the person who consented to one email to get the money when they aren’t being spammed?  I get spam emails ALL the time, do I need to expect payment for something that I can just hit one button and never see emails from that company again?
I’m not saying that the company should not be penalized.  When you do wrong, you should be justly penalized for it.  It should be noted that LinkedIn has not admitted wrong doing in this case and has since revised the terms of using the “Add Connections” feature.

I also read that the money will go to the lawyers regardless of whether or not people file claims.  I am torn whether or not to file a claim.  I think it’s a really stupid lawsuit but then I don’t think it’s a stupid lawsuit!  I think the terms of the lawsuit are 100% agreeable because LinkedIn should not have sent the email out, but then again….REALLY?!  Is it that big of a deal.  Just stop sending them!  $13 Million??!!! 

How about that money ALL go to a charity and be done with it??!!!  I think I am going to write a claim or denial for the money to all go to a charity, but I haven’t decided yet.  


Read the full email lawsuit below:

You are receiving this e-mail because you may have used LinkedIn's Add Connections feature between September 17, 2011 and October 31, 2014.
A federal court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement ("Settlement") of a class action lawsuit ("Action") against LinkedIn Corporation ("LinkedIn") based on LinkedIn's alleged improper use of a service called "Add Connections" to grow its member base.
What is the Action about? The Action challenges LinkedIn's use of a service called Add Connections to grow its member base. Add Connections allows LinkedIn members to import contacts from their external email accounts and email connection invitations to one or more of those contacts inviting them to connect on LinkedIn. If a connection invitation is not accepted within a certain period of time, up to two "reminder emails" are sent reminding the recipient that the connection invitation is pending. The Court found that members consented to importing their contacts and sending the connection invitation, but did not find that members consented to LinkedIn sending the two reminder emails. The Plaintiffs contend that LinkedIn members did not consent to the use of their names and likenesses in those reminder emails. LinkedIn denies these allegations and any and all wrongdoing or liability. No court or other entity has made a judgment or other determination of any liability.
What relief does the Settlement provide? LinkedIn has revised disclosures, clarifying that up to two reminders are sent for each connection invitation so members can make fully-informed decisions before sending a connection invitation. In addition, by the end of 2015, LinkedIn will implement new functionality allowing members to stop reminders from being sent by canceling the connection invitation. LinkedIn has also agreed to pay $13 million into a fund that can be used, in part, to make payments to members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims. Attorneys representing the Settlement Class will petition the Court for payment of the following from the fund: (1) reasonable attorneys' fees, expenses, and costs up to a maximum of $3,250,000, and (2) service awards for the Plaintiffs up to a maximum of $1,500 each. The payment amount for members of the Settlement Class who file approved claims will be calculated on a pro rata basis, which means that it will depend on the total number of approved claims. If the number of approved claims results in a payment amount of less than $10, LinkedIn will pay an additional amount up to $750,000 into the fund. If the pro rata amount is so small that it cannot be distributed in a way that is economically feasible, payments will be made, instead, to Cy Pres Recipients selected by the Parties and approved by the Court. No one knows in advance whether or in what amount payments will be made to claimants.
You may also learn more by clicking on the following links:
If the Court gives final approval to the Settlement, this is the only way to be eligible to receive a payment.
Deadline: December 14, 2015
This is the only option that allows you to retain your rights to sue LinkedIn about its alleged improper use of Add Connections to grow its member base.
Deadline: December 14, 2015
Write to the Court about why you object to (i.e., don't like) the Settlement and think it shouldn't be approved. You may mail your written objection to Judge Koh's Case System Administrator at the United States Courthouse, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113. Alternatively, you may file your written objection in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

You must also mail your written objection to Class Counsel and LinkedIn's Counsel. The address for Class Counsel is: Larry C. Russ, Esq., Russ August & Kabat, 12424 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. The address for LinkedIn's Counsel is: Jerome C. Roth, Esq., Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, 560 Mission Street, 27th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Deadline: December 14, 2015
The Court will hold a "Final Approval Hearing" to consider the Settlement, the request for attorneys' fees and expenses of the lawyers who brought the Action ("Class Counsel"), and the request for service awards of the plaintiffs who brought the Action ("Class Representatives").

You may, but are not required to, speak at the Final Approval Hearing about your written objection. If you intend to speak at the Final Approval Hearing, you must include your intention to do so in your written objection. Follow the procedure described above for providing your written objection to the Court as well as to Class Counsel and LinkedIn's Counsel.
Deadline: December 14, 2015
You will not receive a payment, even if the Court gives final approval to the Settlement. You will also be giving up any claims you may have against LinkedIn based on its alleged improper use of Add Connections to grow its member base. You may be eligible to receive the non-monetary benefits of the Settlement, if the Court gives final approval to the Settlement.
No deadline
More information? For more information about the Settlement and how to take the actions described above, please or write to the Settlement Administrator at Perkins v. LinkedIn Corp., Settlement, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, P.O. Box 808012, Petaluma, CA 94975-8012, You may also contact Class Counsel by calling (310) 979-8244.
Do Not Address Any Questions About The Settlement Or The Litigation To LinkedIn, The Clerk Of The Court, Or The Judge.

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