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Friske v. Bonnier Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 26, 2018

REBECCA FRISKE, Plaintiff,
v.
BONNIER CORPORATION, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY APPROVAL OF CLASS SETTLEMENT

          DAVID M. LAWSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The parties jointly seek preliminary approval of a proposed class settlement. The named plaintiff, Rebecca Friske, brought this action under Michigan's Video Rental Privacy Act (VRPA), Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.1711 et seq., alleging that defendant Bonnier Corporation, a Delaware corporation that sells subscriptions to magazines nationwide, sold and disclosed customer data to third parties in violation of that state law. She sought damages and injunctive relief to prevent further disclosure of the plaintiff's and other similarly situated class members' personal information.

On December 13, 2017, the Court conditionally certified a settlement class defined as:
All Michigan residents who subscribed to or received one or more subscriptions to a magazine published by Bonnier between July 28, 2010 and the date of Preliminary Approval of the Agreement, and who did not purchase such subscriptions through a Third-Party Subscription Agent.

         The parties anticipated that the class would consist of approximately 126, 240 Michigan residents.

         In their joint motion the parties propose a settlement consisting of the following elements:

• The defendant would establish a settlement fund of $3, 000, 000
• Class members would have the option to choose either a “cash distribution amount” of approximately $16 or a free one-year subscription to one of Bonnier's magazines
• If a class member does not submit a claim form, he will automatically receive a coupon or voucher for a free one-year subscription
• For each free subscription claimed or automatically received, Bonnier would receive a “credit” equal to the cash distribution amount ($16), which will be deducted from the settlement fund
• Bonnier would include disclosure language on its publications and informational materials and would undertake commercially reasonable measures to honor any opt-out requests
• Settlement administration costs, which are not estimated in the proposed agreement, will be paid from the settlement fund
• Plaintiff Friske would receive an incentive award of up to $5, 000, paid from ...

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