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Facebook Settlement Approved, But Chief Justice Dubious About Cy Pres

Publication Date: 
November 05, 2013
Source: 
Daily Journal
Author: 
John Roemer

Stanford Law Professor Deborah R. Hensler is quoted in The Daily Journal regarding Chief Jusitice John G. Roberts' intent to look into the distribution of class action lawsuit settlements.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts on Monday lined up with conservative judges at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in casting doubt on what he called the growing use of class action settlement dollars to fund the interests of class members instead of giving them money directly.

In an unusual written statement, Roberts predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court will scrutinize the practice. He appended the statement to the high court's rejection of a petition to review a settlement over Facebook's defunct Beacon feature. Marek v. Lane, 13-136.

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A Stanford Law School professor who follows the high court, Deborah R. Hensler, said Roberts' statement "is unusual enough to suggest that the chief justice has a strong desire to consider the issue."

The facts of the Facebook case Roberts recited in his statement, Hensler said, indicate he "harbors at the very least a skeptical, if not downright negative, view on the issue."