Campbell et al v. Facebook Inc.

Filing 253


Download PDF
Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 1 of 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 MATTHEW CAMPBELL and MICHAEL HURLEY, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, 12 13 14 15 Plaintiffs, v. Case No. 4:13-cv-05996-PJH [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR AN AWARD OF ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS AND SERVICE AWARDS FACEBOOK, INC., Defendant. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 2 of 7 1 Having reviewed the Plaintiffs’ Unopposed Motion for an Award of Attorneys’ Fees and 2 Costs and Service Awards and the documents submitted in support thereof, the Court now 3 FINDS, CONCLUDES, and ORDERS as follows: 4 1. Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated, commenced this 5 action (the “Action”) on December 30, 2013. In their initial complaint, Plaintiffs asserted claims 6 for violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510 et seq. 7 (“ECPA”); the California Invasion of Privacy Act, Cal. Penal Code §§ 630 et seq. (“CIPA”); and 8 California’s Unfair Competition Law California Business and Profession Code §§ 17200 et seq. 9 (“UCL”). Therein, Plaintiffs alleged that Facebook, as a routine policy and business practice, 10 captured and reads its users’ personal, private Facebook messages without their consent for 11 purposes including, but not limited to, data mining and user profiling, generating “Likes” for web 12 pages, and targeted advertising. (Dkt. 1). 13 2. On April 15, 2014, the Court entered an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion to 14 consolidate this Action with a related action filed by Plaintiff David Shadpour, Shadpour v. 15 Facebook, Inc., Case No. 5:14-cv-00307-PSG (N.D. Cal.). (See Dkt. 24). Subsequently, Plaintiffs 16 filed a Consolidated Amended Complaint on April 25, 2014, asserting ECPA, CIPA, and UCL 17 claims on behalf of themselves and a proposed class of “[a]ll natural-person Facebook users 18 located within the United States who have sent or received private messages that included URLs 19 in their content, from within two years before the filing of this action up through and including 20 the date when Facebook ceased its practice.” (See Dkt. 25.).1 21 3. On June 17, 2014, Facebook filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Consolidated 22 Amended Complaint. (See Dkt. 29). Plaintiffs filed an opposition (see Dkt. 31), and Facebook, in 23 turn, filed a reply brief (see Dkt. 35). On December 23, 2014, the Court issued an order granting 24 in part and denying in part Facebook’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Consolidated Amended 25 Complaint, dismissing the claims under CIPA § 632 and the UCL, but denying dismissal of the 26 claims under ECPA and CIPA § 631. (See Dkt. 43). 27 28 1 On October 2, 2015, David Shadpour voluntarily dismissed his claims, with prejudice, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a). (See Dkt. 123.) -1- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 3 of 7 1 4. On May 18, 2016, the Court issued an order granting in part and denying in part 2 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification, denying certification as to a damages class under 3 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3), but granting certification of an injunctive-relief class 4 under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2). (See Dkt. 192). The class definition was as 5 follows: 6 7 8 9 (See Id.). 10 5. All natural-person Facebook users located within the United States who have sent, or received from a Facebook user, private messages that included URLs in their content (and from which Facebook generated a URL attachment), from within two years before the filing of this action up through the date of the certification of the class. Specifically, the Court certified for class treatment three specific alleged uses by 11 Facebook of URLs included in private messages: (1) Facebook’s cataloging URLs shared in 12 private messages and counting them as a “Like” on the relevant third-party website, 13 (2) Facebook’s use of data regarding URLs shared in private messages to generate 14 recommendations for Facebook users, and (3) Facebook’s sharing of data regarding URLs in 15 messages (and attendant demographic data about the messages’ participants) with third parties. 16 (Dkt. 192, at pp. 3-5). In addition, the Court directed the Plaintiffs to file a Second Amended 17 Complaint “(1) revising the class definition to reflect the definition set forth in the class 18 certification motion, and (2) adding allegations regarding the sharing of data with third parties.” 19 (Id. at p.6). In accord therewith, the Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint on June 7, 20 2016. (Dkt. 196). 21 6. On December 7, 2016, the parties engaged in a fourth mediation before Randall 22 Wulff. As a result of this final effort, the parties were able to reach an agreement-in-principle to 23 resolve this Action at the December 7, 2016 mediation, and on December 23, 2016, the parties 24 filed a Joint Status Report, advising the Court that they had reached a settlement-in-principle. 25 (See Dkt. 222). Thereafter, the parties memorialized the terms of the settlement, first in a 26 Memorandum of Understanding executed on February 9, 2017, and subsequently in the 27 Settlement Agreement executed and filed with this Court on March 1, 2017 (Dkt. 227-3), which 28 acknowledges the relief afforded to the Class (Id. At ¶ 40) as well as the role of Class Counsel in -2- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 4 of 7 1 obtaining such relief (Id.). In the Settlement Agreement, Facebook agreed to take no position on 2 an award of attorneys’ fees and costs of up to $3,890,000. At that time, Class Counsel 3 approximated that they would seek $3,230,000 in fees – a significant reduction from the lodestar 4 accrued to that date – and $660,000 in costs; however, it was agreed Class Counsel may apply in 5 different amounts not to exceed $3,890,000. Prior to that agreement, Class Counsel provided 6 Facebook with the monthly time summaries of Class Counsel’s lodestar to facilitate negotiation 7 and resolution of the fee issue. 8 9 10 11 7. On April 26, 2017, this Court granted preliminary approval to the parties’ settlement and ordered that Class Counsel file an application for attorneys’ fees on or before May 26, 2017. (Dkt. 235 at ¶ 14). 8. Plaintiffs have now filed their Unopposed Motion for an Award of Attorneys’ Fees 12 and Costs and Service Awards (“Fee Motion”), supported by the joint declaration of Class 13 Counsel Michael Sobol and Hank Bates (“Joint Declaration”), which attaches as exhibits 14 summaries of Class Counsel’s hours billed, hourly rates, and costs incurred, as well as 15 declarations from each Class Representative attesting to their respective participation in this 16 Action. The Court addresses, in turn, the appropriateness of the attorneys’ fees, costs, and service 17 awards sought. 18 9. Even where a settlement agreement provides for fees and a defendant commits to 19 take no position on them, in the class action context, a court must still ensure that the attorneys’ 20 fees and costs awarded are “fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable.” See Staton v. Boeing, 21 Co., 327 F. 3d 938, 963-64 (9th Cir. 2003). 22 10. In assessing the reasonableness of an attorney’s hourly rate, courts consider 23 whether the claimed rate is “in line with those prevailing in the community for similar services by 24 lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience and reputation.” Blum v. Stenson, 465 U.S. 25 886, 895-96 n.11 (1984). The Fee Motion and accompanying Joint Declaration establish the 26 experience, credentials, and rates of Class Counsel, sufficient to warrant the rates sought. Fee 27 Motion at 13; Joint Decl. at ¶¶ 27-30, 40-55. 28 -3- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 5 of 7 1 11. ECPA provides for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. See 18 2 U.S.C.S. §2520(b)(3) (providing appropriate relief includes “a reasonable attorney’s fee and other 3 litigation costs reasonably incurred.”). Similarly, in light of the CIPA claim, the requested 4 attorneys’ fees are appropriate in this Action pursuant to California’s “private attorney general” 5 statute, which provides for an award of attorneys’ fees to a “successful party.” See Cal. Civ. Proc. 6 Code § 1021.5. 7 12. The Joint Declaration of Class Counsel provides a detailed chronological summary 8 of the work performed by Class Counsel, a spreadsheet showing the number of hours devoted by 9 each firm to fourteen categories of activities, and spreadsheets setting forth the number of hours 10 billed, the hourly rates, and the lodestar for each individual attorney and staff member who 11 substantially contributed to the prosection of this Action, arriving at a total lodestar of 12 $6,509,773.00. The amount Class Counsel requests in fees – $3,236,304.69 – is just under half of 13 that lodestar, or an overall 50% reduction from their full fees. 14 13. The Ninth Circuit recently reconfirmed that “[t]here is a strong presumption that 15 the lodestar figure represents a reasonable fee.” Rodriguez v. West Publ. Corp., 602 Fed. Appx. 16 385, 387 (9th Cir. 2015). Further, courts within this District and its sister district have held that a 17 significant negative multiplier—such as the 0.5 multiplier at issue here—“strongly suggests the 18 reasonableness of the negotiated fee.” Rosado v. Ebay Inc., No. 5:12-CV-04005-EJD, 2016 U.S. 19 Dist. LEXIS 80760, at *26 (N.D. Cal. June 21, 2016) (negative multiplier of 0.54); See Gong- 20 Chun v. Aetna, No. 1:09-CV-01995-SKO, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96828, at *53 (E.D. Cal. Jul. 21 12, 2012) (holding that a negative multiplier of 0.79 suggests that the negotiated fee award is 22 reasonable); Chun-Hoon v. Mckee Foods Corp., 716 F. Supp. 2d 848, 854 (N.D. Cal. 2010) 23 (reasoning that a negative multiplier suggests a reasonable and fair valuation of the services 24 provided by class counsel). In this case, the amount that Class Counsel agreed to accept is far 25 less than their lodestar, making it fair, reasonable and adequate for the Class. Accordingly, the 26 Court approves Class Counsel’s request. 27 28 14. Class Counsel seeks $653,695.31 in unreimbursed out-of-pocket costs incurred over the course of this litigation. The Settlement terms and well-settled precedent support Class -4- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 6 of 7 1 Counsel’s entitlement to recovery of out-of-pocket costs reasonably incurred in investigating, 2 prosecuting, and settling these claims. See, e.g., In re Media Vision Tech. Sec. Litig., 913 F. Supp. 3 1362, 1366 (N.D. Cal. 1996). As detailed in the Joint Declaration, these costs were reasonably 4 incurred in furtherance of the investigation, prosecution, and Settlement of the Action and should 5 be reimbursed. Decl. at ¶¶ 34-37; see In re Toys “R” Us-Del., Inc. Fair & Accurate Credit 6 Transactions Act (FACTA) Litig., 295 F.R.D. 438, 469 (C.D. Cal. 2014). 7 15. The Settlement also provides for service awards of $5,000 to each Class 8 Representative—respectively, to Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley. See Settlement 9 Agreement, ¶ 60. As the Ninth Circuit has recognized, “named plaintiffs, as opposed to 10 designated class members who are not named plaintiffs, are eligible for reasonable incentive 11 payments.” Staton, 327 F.3d at 977; Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corp., 563 F.3d 948, 958 (9th 12 Cir. 2009) (service awards “are fairly typical in class action cases”). Such awards are “intended to 13 compensate class representatives for work done on behalf of the class [and] make up for financial 14 or reputational risk undertaken in bringing the action.” Id.; see also Van Vranken v. Atl. Richfield 15 Co., 901 F. Supp. 294, 299-300 (N.D. Cal. 1995). 16 16. In this District, service awards in the amount of $5,000 per class representative are 17 “presumptively reasonable.” In re Linkedin User Privacy Litig., 309 F.R.D. 573, 592 (N.D. Cal. 18 2015). In this case, the Class Representatives sat for day-long depositions, produced a significant 19 amount of documents in discovery, answered numerous written discovery requests and invested 20 substantial time over the past three years in collaborating and communicating with Class Counsel 21 and monitoring the litigation. The Court finds that the service awards in this Action are well 22 justified under the circumstances. 23 17. The Court has considered, and overrules, the Objection of Anna St. John to 24 Proposed Settlement (Dkt. No 243). The Court finds the settlement to be the result of good faith, 25 arms-length negotiations rather than the result of fraud, collusion, or self-dealing. The parties 26 engaged in four separate mediations before two respected mediators, over the course of several 27 months, before first coming to an agreement as to the terms of the settlement and only thereafter 28 arriving at an agreement as to fees. Further, Objector St. John’s argument concerning the blended -5- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH Case 4:13-cv-05996-PJH Document 244-1 Filed 07/10/17 Page 7 of 7 1 rate of Class Counsel’s lodestar is obviated by the negative multiplier. Considering the nature 2 and length of the negotiation process as well as the benefit conferred on the Class Members in 3 light of the risks of continued litigation, the Court is satisfied that the fee requested by Class 4 Counsel is reasonable. 5 18. It is therefore ORDERED that Class Counsel be awarded $3,890,000 in reasonable 6 attorneys’ fees and costs, and that Class Representatives Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley 7 will each receive $5,000 service awards, in accordance with the Settlement Agreement. 8 9 hyllis J. Hamilton LI ER A H DATED: August 18, 2017 Judge P ERED R NIA O ORD IT IS S FO S RT 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. NO 12 UNIT ED 11 S DISTRICT TE C TA RT U O 10 N F C D IS T IC T O R HONORABLE PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -6- [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR FEES & COSTS & SERVICE AWARDS CASE NO. 4:13-CV-05996-PJH

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?