Deal Expiration Suit to Cost LivingSocial $4M

     (CN) – LivingSocial can pay $4.1 million to settle a class action over allegedly unfair expiration dates and other terms of the company’s daily online deals, a federal judge ruled.
     After giving the settlement a provisional OK in October 212, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle granted final approval Friday.
     The settlement marks the resolution of six consolidated lawsuits, led by eight plaintiffs representing 10.9 million LivingSocial customers who purchased the company’s discounts for goods and services provided by local merchants.
     They said LivingSocial’s deals had expiration dates that violated the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, the D.C. Consumer Protection Act, and state laws regarding gift certificates.
     The CARD Act forbids gift certificates with expiration dates of less than five years. LivingSocial customers also complained that they could not exchange unused portions of the deals for cash, and that the vouchers had to be redeemed all at once.
     A settlement administrator found that 26,830 customers filed valid claims.
     Judge Huvelle found Friday that, consistent with federal law, “the settlement agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable and the result of arms-length negotiations.”
     “The settlement provides for full economic recovery by claimants, as well as injunctive relief that may provide benefits to future LivingSocial customers,” she added.
     Huvelle also awarded $1.35 million in attorneys’ fees, incentive awards of $2,500 for each of three named plaintiffs who were deposed, and incentive awards of $500 for the remaining five named plaintiffs.
     The ruling notes that the two-year case involved 12 law firms, including Shaw Wanta and Melissa Wolchansky at Halunen & Associates; Michael McShane of Audet & Partners; and attorneys Charles LaDuca, Thomas Merrick, Clayton Halunen and Charles Schaffer.

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