And another class-action suit settlement crosses my desk, though I stand to gain utterly nothing, instead of practically nothing, from it.
This lawsuit was brought by Plaintiffs Dawn Fairchild, Robert Nachshin, Brian Geers and Larry Gerrard (collectively “Plaintiffs” or “Settlement Class Representatives”) against Defendant AOL LLC, now known as AOL Inc (“AOL”). Plaintiffs allege that (1) the failure to inform them that AOL would insert e-mail footers in their sent e-mails and (2) the insertion of such footers, violate the law.
AOL denies Plaintiffs’ allegations and maintains that it acted in accordance with all laws and regulations.
The proposed Revised Settlement (“Settlement”) is on behalf of all AOL Members as of August 1, 2009 (“Settlement Class Members”). It resolves claims regarding advertising or promotional “footers” that may have been appended to the bottom of your e-mails by AOL.
This is the same case that you received a notice of in 2009. The Settlement was rejected on the ground that some of the selected charities receiving payments did not have a sufficient connection to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit. The settlement has been revised to include charities that are connected to the class and the subject matter of the lawsuit.
AOL ceased its former practice of appending footers on or around August 1, 2009 and has not used them since that time. The proposed Settlement provides that if AOL re-establishes its former footer practice, it will provide notice to all Settlement Class Members of the footers and their ability to discontinue the footers via AOL Keyword: Footer and http://footer.aol.com and that, if AOL re-establishes appending footers to its Members’ e-mails, such notice will be provided to all new customers upon their registration of an AOL account.
The proposed Settlement provides that AOL shall make donations to several different charities totaling $110,000.
Mental note: Explain to these folks how to use a proper POP3 client with AOL Mail.
Anyway, Fairchild et al. v. AOL did in fact exist, and here’s the complete list of settlement-fund recipients:
Under the original Settlement approved by the Court, the Court awarded the lawyers for the Settlement Class $320,000 in fees and costs that they incurred over the course of this lawsuit. AOL has already paid these fees and costs, and the parties agree that no additional fees or costs will be sought in this case. In addition AOL will pay $110,000 in charitable donations and the costs of administering the Settlement, including the notice process. AOL’s payment of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs will not reduce any amounts paid or credited to the Charities.
Under the settlement, the Settlement Class Representatives do not receive any direct payment. Instead, AOL will donate money to the charity of each Settlement Class Representative’s choice. The relationships between the Settlement Class Representatives and their selected charities are as follows: (1) Dawn Fairchild is employed at her designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica; (2) Robert Nachshin’s wife is on the Board of Trustees of his designated charity the New Roads School of Santa Monica, (3) Brian Geers has previously personally supported his designated charity the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services; and (4) Lawrence Gerard has previously worked at his designated charity the Friars Foundation.
Mr. Geers’ charity of choice, as it happens, is right down the road a couple of miles.
A trip to AOLE-MailFooterSettlement.com will bring you a PDF version of the settlement, running 44 pages.