Netflix Privacy Settlement Faces Challenge
Some Netflix users are asking a federal appellate court to vacate the company's $9 million settlement of a class-action privacy lawsuit.
The users argue that the settlement, which was approved in March, doesn't benefit Netflix members who were affected by the alleged privacy glitch.
The settlement requires Netflix to stop linking former subscribers' names with their movie-viewing history. The deal, approved by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila in the Northern District of California, also calls for Netflix to pay $6.5 million to a total of 20 nonprofits, and up to $2.25 million to the lawyers who sued the company.
The deal drew objections from around 100 people, at least three of whom appealed to the 9th Circuit. Much of the criticism centered on the plan to distribute the settlement fund to nonprofits. Some objectors argued that any settlement money should go to Netflix consumers, not to public interest organizations.
Davila rejected those arguments in March, when he ruled that distributing the fund to Netflix's subscribers wouldn't be feasible.
But several objectors are now asking the appellate court to vacate the settlement. “This settlement offers no benefit to current or former Netflix subscribers,” one of the critics, Bradley Schulz, argues in papers filed last week. “It allots money solely to attorneys ... and various charities that are only marginally related to the harm suffered by the class.”
Another objector, Jeffrey Wilens, says in court papers that Davila “did not evaluate the settlement sufficiently to account for the possibility that class counsel and the class representatives sacrificed the interests of absent class members for their own benefit.”