Netflix-Walmart Deal Hurt Competition, 9th Circ. Hears

Law 360 reports on the objection to the Netflix-Wal-Mart Settlement in which Ted Frank claims that the settlement was not fair for class members.

After the lower-court judge granted Netflix's motion for summary judgment, Wal-Mart reached a settlement with the plaintiffs in in which it agreed to pay $27.3 million in cash, gift cards and $8.5 million in attorneys' fees and expenses, court records show. Several objectors appealed the settlement to the Ninth Circuit, arguing that because the settlement class only received $14.1 million from the deal, the attorneys' fees were excessive.

One objector, Theodore Frank, told the Ninth Circuit on Thursday that calling them gift cards instead of coupons was no more than “labeling subterfuge” designed to allow the parties to get around the Class Action Fairness Act, which requires higher judicial scrutiny for coupon-based settlements.

Including those gift cards in the settlement total allowed attorneys' fees to be inflated, Frank argued. But Todd Seaver of Berman DeValerio, an attorney for the settling plaintiffs, argued that the deal wasn't strictly a coupon settlement because class members could choose whether to take cash or a gift card.

Read the full article at Law 360.