Monday, July 29, 2013

Our first cert petition, challenging Facebook Beacon cy pres settlement

We weren't involved in the 2-1 Lane v. Facebook cy pres decision disadvantaging consumers, and jumped at the opportunity to challenge it in the Supreme Court. On Friday (with generous pro bono work from BakerHostetler) we filed our first cert petition, and the first substantive request that the Supreme Court clarify the law of cy pres, a unique public-policy problem that both the Chamber of Commerce and Public Citizen agree upon. 

The Center has previously won such landmark cy pres decisions as In re Baby Products Antitrust Litigation and Nachshin v. AOL. I testified about the problem before a House Subcommittee in March, and will be speaking on an ABA panel on the subject in Boston in October. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Redman v. Radio Shack

Redman v. Radio Shack Corp., No. 11-cv-06741 (N.D. Ill.) is a class action alleging a right to statutory recovery for Radio Shack's practice of printing expiration dates on credit-card receipts. The settlement provides $1M in attorneys' fees and $10 coupons to the class, without any mechanism to track redemptions required to justify such a large fee. Of course, there will be nowhere near the hundreds of thousands of claims comprising "settlement value" given the difficulty of making a claim, so the settlement also provide cy pres of leftover coupons to the Boys and Girls Club. Except Section 1712(e) of the Class Action Fairness Act explicitly prohibits the use of cy pres coupons for calculating fee awards. The settlement class is defined as
All persons who, between August 24, 2010 and November 21, 2011, paid by credit or debit card for products or services and received an electronically-printed receipt from any Store that contained the expiration date of the person's credit or debit card.
Excluded from the Settlement Class are Defendant, its officers, employees, and attorneys; transactions conducted with business credit or debit cards; and transactions made with RadioShack-branded debit or credit cards, as those cards do not contain expiration dates.
One hopes a class member aggrieved by this lawyers-first settlement will contact a non-profit attorney willing to help them object to a settlement with such an unfair and illegal fee request.