FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – You might've heard about Facebook facing a class action lawsuit a few weeks ago, and how many users are eligible for a claim. Now many of those users have been notified, including 21Alive’s Rachel Martin who asked a lawyer about its validity.
Martin says she received her email notification over the weekend claiming it is a federally authorized court notice, and not a solicitation from a lawyer. Many of her other friends and co-workers claim they recently received the notification also.
“The purpose of these lawsuits are really to hold the corporation accountable for some wrong doing,” said David Farnbauch, attorney at Sweeney Law Firm in Fort Wayne.
The email says recipients are eligible for a share of the $20 million settlement, but it also says the most anyone will earn in the settlement is $10.
The lawsuit, also known as Angel Fraley v. Facebook, Inc., was filed because users' names, photos, and identities were unlawfully featured in "sponsored stories" on the social media website. A "sponsored story" is an advertisement based on things users "liked" or "shared,” like links, games, businesses, and organizations.
But the question is, even if I’m eligible for some money, is it really worth the hassle? Farbauch says probably not.
“That's frequently what you see in class actions is a relatively large award, but because there's hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of claimants then each individual's claim is very modest. So most people would say it's not even really worth filling out the paperwork to get the award,” he said.
Farnbauch says class action lawsuits happen all the time, and that you'll probably receive ten to 20 notifications in a lifetime. He says being a part of a class action lawsuit is as easy as buying a product, using a service, or signing up for something that had the lawsuit filed against them.
He also says usually you won’t end up benefitting from the settlements.
“The attorneys who are handling these class actions, usually are taking these cases on a contingent fee basis, which means they’re taking 30 or 40 percent of the award or perhaps even more. So the attorneys really are the big winners in a class action lawsuit if they prevail,” he said.
Farnbauch says if you choose to file a claim, hiring a personal attorney is not necessary. All you have to do is read the email and follow the directions. Members of the Facebook lawsuit have until May 2 to submit their claim.
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