The Center for Class Action Fairness represents National class member Michael Barton in objecting to this nationwide class action. CCAF filed an objection on behalf of Barton April 11, 2016, before District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The settlement pays plaintiffs’ attorneys $3.6 million, while only New York class members recover any cash. The divergence in recovery between the New York Class and the National Class evidences a conflict of interest for which class members’ interests were not adequately represented. Even if the Court does not decertify the classes on this ground, Barton argues that the settlement should be rejected as unfair due to the severe disproportion between class counsel’s recovery and class members’ recovery.
Other than the $100 recovered by the New York class, class members of both classes recover only a “date voucher,” which the parties value at $450 but which cannot be transferred for any consideration and is useless to any class member who is not single or otherwise not interested in using IJL’s date-matching services, and injunctive relief that only even potentially benefits future clients of IJL. Class counsel requests its full lodestar of $3.6 million based on a settlement valuation that assumes an entirely unrealistic 100% claims rate and redemption rate of the date coupons.
On March 10, 2017, in a victory for CCAF, the district court denied approval of the settlement. From the bench, and for many of the reasons discussed in Barton’s objection, the Court observed that the proposed settlement provided little to no benefit to the national class and, thus, class members were better off retaining their rights than settling for the relief provided by the settlement.