Opt-Outs Fire Back in Request for Exclusion from TikTok Data Privacy Class Action Settlement

One opt-out on behalf of several thousand others has urged the MDL court overseeing privacy litigation against TikTok to honor her “constitutionally and contractually protected rights” by allowing her to exit the settlement class and proceed in private arbitration. The reply brief comes after TikTok Inc. opposed what it called the litigants’ untimely and improper “mass motion.”

The opt-out dispute is taking place while briefing for final approval of the $92 million settlement is underway. Indeed, the same day the opt-out hopefuls filed their reply asking the court to overturn the settlement administrator’s rejection of their exclusion petitions, the plaintiffs replied in support of their bid for final settlement and attorneys’ fee award approval.

In its opposition to the opt-out request, TikTok urged the court not to overturn the settlement administrator’s decision for several reasons. The company said that the agreement expressly bars opt-outs such as these where they are submitted as a coordinated, lawyer-driven campaign. In addition, it said individuals were solicited using improper means in the way of unapproved communication with class members.

In Wednesday’s reply, the movants argued that TikTok’s criticism of their counsel’s ethics was “unprofessional and baseless.” The filing countered that in order to impugn counsel’s integrity, TikTok, in a “desperate attempt … presents this Court with an unauthenticated and incomplete advertisement that appears to be from the Class Administrator, shamefully and falsely claiming that it belongs to one of the law firms.”

In addition, the movants claimed that their opt-out requests were timely and that they complied with court approved notice requirements. As to the latter, the reply added that the notice provided to prospective class members was inadequate, but even in view of that, the submitted petitions “substantially complied” with all requirements. The filing further noted that some contact information may have been missing because individuals understandably “felt reserved about providing some of their personal information on the exclusion forms.”

Lastly, the reply responded to individual opt-out petitions singled out as examples by TikTok, with one, for instance bearing the name “JaydenDropemOff.” The movants’ reply said that this was a user’s screen name, and reiterated that users have the right to be wary of disclosing information, given the nature of the lawsuit itself. “TikTok’s attempt to shame or portray these individuals in an offensive light through the use of their usernames or signatures is simply inappropriate,” the reply said in a footnote.

TikTok is represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and the opt-out movants by Chicago Consumer Law Center P.C., Clarkson Law Firm P.C., Kind Law, and Swigart Law Group APC.