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Commonly Asked Questions

What is this lawsuit about?

Answer:

Plaintiffs, several former Netflix subscribers, brought a class action against Netflix on their own behalf and on behalf of other subscribers like them on claims that Netflix retained and disclosed information, including records of the movies and TV shows its subscribers viewed, in violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), and California’s Customer Records Act (CCRA).  Netflix denies that it did anything wrong.

Why did I receive this notice?

Answer:

The Court in this class action lawsuit has certified a settlement class of all former and current Netflix subscribers as of July 5, 2012.  You received this notice because Netflix’s records show that you are a current or former Netflix subscriber as of July 5, 2012, and are therefore included in the settlement.

What is a class action?

Answer:

A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or a few named plaintiffs bring suit on behalf of all of the members of a similarly situated group, without the necessity of each member filing an individual lawsuit or appearing as an individual plaintiff.  Class actions are used by courts where the claims raise basic issues of law or fact that are common to all members of the class thereby making it fair to bind all class members to the orders and the judgment in the case, without the necessity of hearing essentially the same claims over and over.  Use of the class action eliminates the necessity of filing multiple lawsuits, and assures that all class members are bound by the results of a single lawsuit.

How do I know if I'm a member of the class?

Answer:

You are a class member if you live in the U.S. or is territories and you are a current or former Netflix subscriber as of July 5, 2012.

What is the settlement amount?

Answer:

Netflix will pay $9 million into a settlement fund that, subject to Court approval, will be used to (i) make donations to a group of not-for-profit organizations, institutions or programs approved by the Court (such donations are called “cy pres”, in legal speak), (ii) pay notice and settlement administration expenses, (iii) pay attorneys’ fees of up to 25% of the Settlement Fund, and up to $25,000.00 in out of pocket costs to Class Counsel, and (iv) pay a collective incentive award of $30,000 to the Plaintiffs.

How will I be affected by the settlement?

Answer:

Your rights will be affected by the settlement.  As described below and more fully on the settlement website (www.videoprivacyclass.com), you have the right to request exclusion from the class, stay in the class and do nothing, or stay in the class and object to the settlement.  If the settlement is approved, Netflix will decouple  (i.e., separate) Entertainment Content Viewing Histories (i.e., the movies and TV shows you have watched) from identification information for subscribers who have not been a Netflix customer for at least 365 days, subject to certain exceptions.

How can I request exclusion?

Answer:

You can “exclude” yourself from the Settlement Class by following the steps set forth below. If you choose to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may pursue whatever legal rights you have in any separate proceeding if you choose to do so, but you will have to do so at your own expense.

To exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you must send a letter saying that you want to be “excluded” from the Class in In re Netflix Privacy Litigation, No. 5:11-cv-00379-EJD. Your exclusion request must include your name, address, telephone number, signature, and a signed statement to the effect that: “I/We hereby request to be excluded from the proposed Settlement Class in In re Netflix Privacy Litigation.” Your exclusion request must be postmarked no later than November 14, 2012, and sent to the Settlement Administrator at the following address:

Netflix Privacy Settlement Administrator; PO Box 2750; Faribault, MN 55021-9750

A request for exclusion that does not include all of the above information, that is sent to an address other than the one listed above, or that is not received on time, will not be valid and the person[s] asking to be excluded will be  bound as class member(s) by the Settlement.

If you elect to opt-out of the Settlement, you will (i) not have any rights as a member of the Settlement Class pursuant to the Settlement, (ii) not be bound by any further orders or judgments in this case, and (iii) remain able to file your own lawsuit at your own expense.
If you do not opt-out, you will be bound by further orders and judgments in the case and, if the Settlement is approved, your claims (as defined in the Settlement Agreement) will be released and you will not be able to sue Netflix for any claim relating to the lawsuit.
 

How can I object to the settlement?

Answer:

If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you or your attorney can object to the Settlement and have the right to appear before the Court to do so.  Your objection to the Settlement must be in writing, filed with the Court and served on the attorneys for the Parties at the following addresses:


Clerk of the Court 

Clerk of the Court
United States District Court for
The Northern District of California (San Jose Division)
Robert F. Peckham Federal Building
280 South 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Settlement Class Counsel

Jay Edelson
Rafey S. Balabanian
Ari J. Scharg
Chandler R. Givens
Edelson McGuire LLC
350 N. LaSalle, Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60654

Defendants' Counsel

Keith E. Eggleton
Rodney G. Strickland
Dale R. Bish
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
650 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

The objection must be in writing and include the case name In re Netflix Privacy Litigation, No. 5:11-cv-00379-EJD, and:  (a) the Settlement Class member’s full name, current address and telephone number; (b) a statement that he or she is a member of the Settlement Class; (c) the specific grounds for the objection; (d) all documents or writings that such Settlement Class member desires the Court to consider; and (e) a notice of intention to appear (if any).  If you intend to appear at the fairness hearing through counsel, your objection must also state the identity of all attorneys representing you who will appear at the fairness hearing.

If you do not submit a written objection on the proposed Settlement or the application of Plaintiffs’ counsel for incentive awards and attorneys’ fees and expenses in accordance with the deadline and procedure set forth above, and you are not granted relief by the Court, you will waive your right to be heard at the fairness hearing.
 

What if I do nothing?

Answer:

If you do nothing, your rights will be affected.  If you do not exclude yourself from the settlement, you will be included in it, and you will not be able to sue Netflix for any claim relating to the lawsuit.  Whether you consider the Settlement favorable or unfavorable, if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will not be permitted to continue to assert released claims in any other litigation against Netflix or other persons and entities covered by the release.

How much will I receive?

Answer:

The settlement fund will be used to make donations to not-for-profit organizations.  Class members will not receive payments.

What is the appeals period?

Answer:

A judgment can be appealed up to thirty days following the date the judgment is entered.  If there is an appeal to a settlement, there is no way to tell how long it will take to resolve the appeal.  

Do I need to hire my own attorney?

Answer:

You do not need to hire your own attorney.  As a class member, you are represented by class counsel.

Who are the attorneys representing the class?

Answer:

The Court has approved the appointment of Jay Edelson, Rafey S. Balabanian, Ari J. Scharg, and Chandler R. Givens of Edelson McGuire LLC as Settlement Class Counsel.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

Will I have to pay attorneys' fees?

Answer:

You will not have to pay attorneys’ fees for class counsel.  If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense. The attorneys’ fees for class counsel will be paid out of the settlement fund that was established by Netflix.

How much are the attorneys receiving?

Answer:

Subject to the Court’s approval, class counsel will request up to $2.25 million and out of pocket costs up to $25,000.00.

Who are the class representatives?

Answer:

For purposes of the Settlement, the Court has appointed Plaintiffs Jeff Milans and Peter Comstock as Class Representatives. There are four other named plaintiffs who filed claims.

What will the class representative receive?

Answer:

Under the Settlement Agreement, subject to the Court’s approval, the six named plaintiffs may seek a combined incentive award of $30,000 collectively.

What is the release?

Answer:

Upon final approval of the settlement, all members of the Settlement Class will release any and all actual, potential, filed, known or unknown, fixed or contingent, claimed or unclaimed, suspected or unsuspected, claims, demands, liabilities, rights, causes of action, suits, contracts or agreements, extracontractual claims, damages, punitive, exemplary or multiplied damages, expenses, costs, attorneys’ fees or obligations, whether in law or in equity, accrued or unaccrued, direct, individual or representative, of every nature and description whatsoever, whether based on the VPPA, the CCRA, the UCL, a contract, or other federal, state, local, statutory or common law or any other law, rule or regulation, including the law of any jurisdiction outside the United States, against the Released Parties, or any of them, arising out of or relating in any way to, the facts, transactions, events, matters, occurrences, acts, disclosures, statements, misrepresentations, omissions or failures to act regarding the alleged retention and disclosure of Plaintiffs’ and the Settlement Class’s personally identifiable information, Entertainment Content Viewing History, and other information, including but not limited to all claims that were brought, alleged, argued, raised, or asserted in any pleading or court filing in the Action.

What is the Final Approval Hearing?

Answer:

The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing to determine if the settlement should be finally approved as fair, reasonable, and adequate.  The Court will also be asked to approve Class Counsel’s request for attorney’s fees and costs, administration costs, and the incentive award paid to the Class Representatives.

Where/when is the Final Approval Hearing?

Answer:

The fairness hearing has been set for December 5, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., before Judge Edward J. Davila at the United States District Court for the District of the Northern District of California (San Jose Division), Robert F. Peckham Federal Building, 280 South 1st Street, Courtroom 4 – 5th Floor, San Jose, California 95113.

Do I have to attend the Final Approval Hearing?

Answer:

You do not need to attend the fairness hearing to remain a class member.  You or your own lawyer may attend the hearing if you wish, at your own expense.

May I speak at/object at the Final Approval Hearing?

Answer:

If you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you may ask the Court for permission to speak at the hearing concerning the proposed Settlement or the application of Settlement Class counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Who is Rust Consulting?

Answer:

Rust Consulting is a neutral third-party administrator approved by the court to help manage the Settlement and answer any questions that you may have.

How can I get more information?

Answer:

For more detailed information, you may wish to review the Settlement Agreement.  The capitalized terms in this FAQ are defined in the Settlement Agreement.  You can view the Settlement Agreement and get more information at [www.VideoPrivacyClass.com].  You can also get more information by calling toll-free 1-866-898-5088.  The Settlement Agreement and all other pleadings and papers filed in the case are available for inspection and copying during regular business hours at the office of the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose Division), Robert F. Peckham Federal Building, 280 South 1st Street, San Jose, California 95113. 

Disclaimer

Please do not contact either the Defendants or the Court about this Settlement. Any and all callers will be directed to this website.  If you have questions, please refer to the information posted here.

This site is not operated by the Plaintiffs or the Defendants.  This class action settlement is supervised by the Court and is administered by a claims administration firm that handles all aspects of settlement administration.

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