Court Gives Final Approval to $18M Class Action Settlement Regarding Disabled FaceTime

On Wednesday, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California granted final approval to the $18 million class-action settlement, including more than $6 million in fees and expenses, of a lawsuit over Apple disabled FaceTime on iPhone 4 models using iOS 6 or earlier operating systems.

For background, as noted in the motion for final approval of the settlement, the plaintiffs sued Apple on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated “‘who owned an Apple iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S that was operating on iOS 6 or an earlier operating system, and therefore lost the ability to use Apple’s ‘FaceTime’ video conferencing feature when Apple intentionally broke FaceTime for iOS 6 and earlier operating systems on April 16, 2014.’ ” The plaintiffs brought two causes of action: “trespass to chattels under California law() and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law.” The plaintiffs argued that their iPhones’ values decreased because of the FaceTime break.

The court found that the notice plan, “which was direct notice sent to 99.8% of the Settlement Class via email and U.S. Mail, has been implemented in compliance with this Court’s Order … and complies with Rule 23(c)(2)(B).” The court also concluded that the settlement terms and distribution plan to be fair, reasonable, and adequate to the class members. Thus, the court granted the motion for final approval.

Pursuant to the motion, Apple “will fund an $18 million non-reversionary cash Settlement Fund. After deducting from the Settlement Fund the costs of notice and claims administration, attorneys’ fees and expenses, and incentive awards, the proceeds of the fund will be distributed automatically by electronic and/or paper checks.” The motion noted that the settlement class consists of approximately 3.2 million members. Judge Koh added that each settlement class member’s payment “will be calculated based on each Settlement Class Member’s proportional share of the Net Settlement Fund.”

The order stated that the certified class consists of “(a)ll owners of non-jailbroken Apple iPhone 4 or Apple iPhone 4S devices in California who on April 16, 2014, had iOS 6 or earlier operating systems on their iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S devices.” The court added that the settlement class is certified for meeting Rule 23 requirements.

In a separate order also issued Wednesday, the court granted in part and denied in part the class counsel’s motion for attorneys’ fees. The court concluded that “fees in the amount of $5.04 million and expenses in the amount of $1,083,045.14 be paid to Class Counsel, and that service awards of $7,500 be paid to each Class Representative.”

Apple is represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Durie Tangri LLP.

The plaintiffs are represented by Pearson, Simon & Warshaw LLP, Steyer Lowenthal Boodrookas Alvarez & Smith LLP, Friedman Oster & Tejtel PLLC, as well as Caldwell Cassady & Curry.