Unlimited PS3 Settlement Gets Tentative OK

           OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — A federal judge on Thursday tentatively approved an unlimited settlement fund for early-model Sony PlayStation 3 buyers whose ability to run the Linux operating system was undone by a software update.
     The class action litigation stems from claims that Sony lied about the PS3 being able to run a separate Linux operating system in addition to its built-in gaming operating system. While earlier models had that functionality, the “Other OS” feature was wiped out by a software update on April 1, 2010, according to the lawsuits.
     In a Sept. 8 ruling, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers tentatively certified two classes of purchasers that bought “fat” — as opposed to later-model slim version — PS3 systems between Nov. 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010.
     Class attorney James Pizzirusso said Sony agreed to an uncapped settlement fund, which places no limit on how many PS3 buyers can submit claims for recovery.
     “Conceivably if every class member submitted a claim, Sony could pay out tens of millions of dollars,” Pizzirusso said. “The fund is uncapped, and there’s no way to know ultimately today how many people will submit claims.”
     Pizzirusso is with Hausfield LLP in Washington.
     Ten million PS3 units have been sold in the United States, ranging in price from $400 to $600, according to court filings. Sony introduced the PlayStation 4 in 2013.
     The consolidated class action stretches back to April 2010 when multiple lawsuits were filed claiming Sony lied about the PS3’s “Other OS” functionality.
     In 2011, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed the PS3 class action with prejudice, but the Ninth Circuit partly reversed the dismissal in April 2014.
     A settlement deal was reached last June after six years of litigation and nearly 10 months of negotiations, according to a motion for settlement approval filed on June 17.
     The deal sets a $2.25 million cap for attorneys’ fees and provides $3,500 incentive awards for five named plaintiffs, including lead plaintiff Anthony Ventura.
     Under terms of the deal, Sony will pay $55 to each class member that used a separate operating system on the PS3 before the feature was eliminated and $9 to each class member who bought a PS3 during the four-year class period but did not use the “Other OS” feature.
     Class members must file claims within 45 days of the notice date in order to recover funds, according to the tentative approval order.
     Sony will use its PlayStation network database to email class members about the settlement. Advertisements about the deal will be posted on technology and gaming websites such as CNET and IGN.com.
     The notification plan should reach an estimated 77 percent of class members, according to the settlement approval motion.
     Potential class members must be notified within 45 days of the Sept. 8 ruling, and class members will have 45 days following the initial notice to object to the settlement.
     A motion for final approval of the settlement is due on Dec. 20, and a final approval hearing is set for Jan 24, 2017, in Oakland.
     Sony’s attorney, Luanne Sacks of Sacks Rickets & Case in San Francisco, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

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