LinkedIn might have to pay you money for spamming your email contacts
If you just got a long email about LinkedIn and a class-action legal settlement, yes, it's real, and yes, you could be eligible to get a chunk of the $13 million that the professional social network is paying to settle the lawsuit.
Here's the deal:
In 2013, a class-action lawsuit accused LinkedIn of accessing users' email accounts without their permission and unwittingly using their names to send email invitations to people in their address books.
At the time, LinkedIn called many of the accusations false.
The court agreed that LinkedIn members did give the social network permission to use their email contacts to send connection invitations.
But the court found that although LinkedIn members consented to importing their contacts and sending LinkedIn connection requests, they did not consent to the two additional "reminder emails" that LinkedIn would send about those requests.
Assuming the settlement goes through, what does that mean for you?
As a LinkedIn user, you will now see a new disclosure when you send a connection invitation, letting you know that LinkedIn will send two reminder emails to the recipient. By the end of 2015, LinkedIn will also start letting members who are getting reminders stop those reminders from coming by canceling the invitation.
If you got the email, you may also be eligible to get some money.
LinkedIn's $13 million will be distributed pro rata, meaning that the amount each person gets will depends on how many people file claims. But if the number of claims means that the pay-out amounts to less than $10 per person who filed, LinkedIn will have to add on an additional $750,000.
LinkedIn sent Business Insider the following statement:
And here's what the email looks like:
NOTICE OF PENDING CLASS ACTION AND NOTICE OF PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
PERKINS V. LINKEDIN CORP.
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:
Class Action Complaint
Orders on Motions to Dismiss
Cy Pres Recipients
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS SETTLEMENT
SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM
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
GO TO THE "FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
"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
For more information about the Settlement and how to take the actions described above, please visit www.AddConnectionsSettlement.com 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, info@AddConnectionsSettlement.com. You may also contact Class Counsel by calling (310) 826-7474.