‘Zoombombing’ Class Action Edges Towards Resolution with Motion for Final Approval

Last Friday, plaintiffs moved for final approval of a $85 million cash settlement with defendant Zoom Inc. over concerns about the validity of the video conferencing software’s security. Since Judge Lucy H. Koh granted the plaintiffs’ request for preliminary approval last October, notice was purportedly disseminated to over 150 million class members with only 148 requests for exclusions and one objection to date, the submission said.

The case represents a consolidation of suits filed once it came to light that Zoom’s supposedly end-to-end encrypted software was not so well protected. The software’s popularity soared with the onset and inset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with that newfound popularity came problems, according to the user plaintiffs.

Aside from encryption issues, some users also experience a phenomenon known as “Zoombombing,” whereby an unwanted third-party would intrude on a supposedly private conference, causing disruptions. In addition to security issues, the plaintiffs alleged that Zoom improperly shared user data without notice or consent via third party software integrations from companies such as Facebook and Google.

The case proceeded through the dismissal phase, with Judge Koh partly granting and partly denying Zoom’s motion. Subsequently, the parties engaged in discovery before reaching a settlement.

Last week’s motion contends that the agreement, affording both monetary compensation and injunctive relief designed to address the issues forming the basis of the lawsuit, is fair, adequate, and otherwise meets the legal requirements. “In sum, the Settlement provides an outstanding set of benefits to Settlement Class Members and merits final approval,” the motion says.

The filing details why the proposed settlement provides a meaningful recovery for the class given the risks and benefits of continued litigation. It also seeks “reasonable” class counsel attorneys’ fees up to 25% of the $85 million fund, or $21.25 million, plus out-of-pocket expenses of approximately $131,000.

The filing says that so far, almost 690,000 valid claims have been submitted. Yet to come are the deadlines for opt-outs and objections, scheduled for March 5.

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC are interim co-lead counsel for the settlement class. Zoom is represented by Cooley LLP.