Facebook users today filed an amended consolidated class action complaint in federal court in San Jose, California in the case In re: Facebook Internet Tracking Litigation, No. 5:12-md-02314-EJD. The class action asserts federal statutory and California State causes of action related to the revelation in September 2011 that Facebook was improperly tracking the internet use of its members even after they logged out of their accounts. The action consolidates 21 related cases filed in more than a dozen states in 2011 and early 2012.
The plaintiffs assert claims under the federal Wiretap Act, which provides statutory damages per user of US$100 per day per violation, up to a maximum per user of US$10,000. Even if Facebook’s alleged actions constitute a single violation of the Wiretap Act per class member, that implies more than US$15 billion in damages across the class. The complaint also asserts claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, various California Statutes and California common law.
The class action is being led by court-appointed co-lead counsel Stewarts Law US LLP and Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny, P.C. David Straite, Partner at Stewarts Law, stated: “This is not just a damages action, but a groundbreaking digital privacy rights case that could have wide and significant legal and business implications.”
In addition to co-lead counsel, the court has appointed a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee which includes Keefe Law Firm in New Jersey; Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair in Rhode Island; Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy in New Jersey; Bergmanis Law Firm in Missouri; Burns, Cunningham & Mackey in Alabama; and Murphy, Falcon & Murphy in Baltimore. The court has also appointed a committee of former State Attorneys General to advise the class, including former Mississippi AG Mike Moore, former Arizona AG Grant Woods, former Hawaii AG Margery Bronster, and former Louisiana AG Richard Ieyoub.