Several years ago, before Facebook had really burst onto the scene, someone asked me to join classmates.com. My high school experience was not one of continuous bliss but, eh, I signed up for the free version. That meant that every now and then I get an email telling me someone has "signed my guestbook" and to see who that might be I have to upgrade to the paid version. To date I have resisted the temptation and haven't checked the free account for, probably, years.
Thus I was somewhat surprised to get an email telling me I am part of a class action lawsuit against Classmates. One email arrived last October but I didn't pay much attention to it. Something about how if I objected to something I had to file a written objection that includes some legal gobbledygook and say whether or not I intended to be at the final settlement, and so on and so forth. I ignored it.
Saturday another email arrived telling me that a settlement was in the offing and:
•IF THE COURT GIVES FINAL APPROVAL, THIS SETTLEMENT WILL AWARD YOU AN ESTIMATED $10 IN CASH, PLUS OTHER BENEFITS.
•TO CLAIM YOUR CASH AWARD, YOU MUST SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM.
•YOU MAY ALSO EXCLUDE YOURSELF FROM THIS LAWSUIT OR OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENT. YOU MAY ALSO DO NOTHING, IN WHICH CASE YOU WILL STAY IN THE LAWSUIT AND GIVE UP CLAIMS AGAINST CLASSMATES, BUT RECEIVE NO CASH AWARD.
•PARTICIPATING IN THIS SETTLEMENT WILL COST YOU NOTHING.
•AS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT, LAWYERS FOR THE SETTLEMENT CLASS ([redacted]) WILL REQUEST ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND COSTS.
•THIS NOTICE ONLY SUMMARIZES THE SETTLEMENT. COMPLETE INFORMATION ON THE SETTLEMENT IS AVAILABLE AT THE SETTLEMENT WEBSITE ([redacted]).
•PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE COURT, CLASSMATES, OR CLASS COUNSEL. PLEASE DO NOT PRESS THE “REPLY” BUTTON TO RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL NOTICE. NO ONE WILL RESPOND TO REPLIES TO THIS EMAIL.
Yes, I could receive $10, or possibly less if a lot of people sign up for the cash award. What do the lawyers get? Their $1 million in fees is separate from the money set aside for the "claimants." If I read it correctly (and that is iffy), more may be paid towards court costs.
I had no beef with Classmates and do not understand what they did that was worth them paying out something like $3 million total. Mostly I just deleted the classmates emails when they arrived. Of course, there may be far more to the matter than I know. But my immediate off the cuff response to the lawsuit notice is that I didn't want any part of this and don't like being included with only an opt out possibility. Shouldn't this be an opt in decision? Maybe there an earlier email, since deleted, that explains further. It just struck me as an odd email to arrive out of the blue.