When a group of class-action objectors appealed the settlement of the privacy case against Facebook for (among other things) the unlawful use of minors’ images for advertising without parental consent, class counsel sought to impose on each objector-appellant an appeal bond of $32,000. (For more background, see here.) One of class counsel’s arguments was that if the appellants lose they should be responsible for the administrative costs incurred by the settlement administrator while the appeal was pending.
Yesterday, in a decision that could be influential to district courts in the Ninth Circuit, the district court denied the motion to impose a bond, ruling that settlement administrative costs are not part of appellate costs that can be shifted to a losing appellant under the federal rules.
This is a win not only for the objectors to the Facebook settlement but also for access to justice more generally: if large appeal bonds for administrative costs can be required of class-action objectors, some objectors will be deterred from appealing at all.