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Adequacy of Facebook’s $550M biometric data privacy settlement questioned by overseeing judge

Adequacy of Facebook’s $550M biometric data privacy settlement questioned by overseeing judge

The judge overseeing Facebook’s proposed $550 million settlement of its biometric data privacy class action lawsuit has requested details about individual payouts, and information on why the amounts are likely to be less than the minimum statutory amounts, Law.com reports.

U.S. District Judge James Donato suggested that “litigation risk” was not sufficient to explain the difference, as all litigation involves risk. He also suggested that BIPA cases are not similar to other consumer cases as they involve “a clear mandate from the Illinois legislature that these violations had a price tag.”

Settlement papers are due to be filed on March 12, and Donato wants them to explain the benchmark for damages set by the parties, and why there is any discount from the statutory amount. In making his demands, Donato noted that the federal appellate courts and the Supreme Court have upheld his key interpretations of the law.

Perhaps just as important, Donato wants assurances that Facebook’s practices have changed. In a case like this in which the defendant is capable of absorbing major financial penalties, details of the changes it makes are particularly important, he said.

“I want to see something that says this is not going to happen again,” Donato stated, according to Law.com.

A legal representative for Facebook admitted the March 12 filing deadline could be seen as aggressive, but that parties have recourse if it needs to be moved. A plaintiff’s attorney expressed hope that the parties could meet the agreed-upon deadline.

Donato also threatened to set a trial date if the settlement is delayed, noting the case has been ongoing since 2015.

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