NYT $2.4M Deal In Auto-Renewal Case

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NYT $2.4M Deal In Auto-Renewal Case

In a significant legal development, a class of New York Times subscribers has sought the preliminary nod from a Manhattan federal court for an approximately $2.4 million settlement. This move comes after the Second Circuit Court raised concerns, leading to the rejection of a previous agreement.

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NYT $2.4M Deal In Auto-Renewal Case : Historical Context and Court Decisions

Originally, the proposed settlement included $3.9 million in access codes for subscribers and a $1.25 million attorney fee for Bursor & Fisher PA, representing the aggrieved class. However, the appeals court sided with an objector who argued that the access codes should be treated as coupons under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Consequently, Judge Ronnie Abrams had to reassess the real value of these codes, ultimately concluding that the original attorney fees constituted 22.5% of the total settlement amount.

Mediation and New Settlement Terms

Following the appellate court’s decision, the NYT readers and the publication engaged in mediation, aiming to forge a settlement on new terms. This revised settlement not only addresses the concerns voiced by the Second Circuit but also boosts the cash component of the settlement by 44%, offering straightforward, non-reversionary cash funds—a format well-regarded and commonly approved in the district.

Improved Transparency and Compliance

Under the new agreement, the NYT has committed to altering the presentation and wording of its auto-renewal terms across various platforms, including mobile, desktop, and direct mail. This change is designed to align with California law, ensuring clearer communication and legal compliance.

Comment from Parties and Stakeholders

While a spokesperson for the NYT refrained from commenting on the settlement, the details of the agreement reveal a proactive approach to resolving the litigation while enhancing transparency for subscribers. The legal representatives for the consumers have not yet made a public statement regarding the new settlement terms.

NYT $2.4M Deal In Auto-Renewal Case : Incentives and Leadership

Maribel Moses, the lead plaintiff in this case, would receive a $5,000 incentive award for her role in the litigation. Moses initiated the lawsuit against the NYT in 2020, accusing the newspaper of violating California’s Automatic Renewal Law by failing to adequately disclose its renewal terms and secure affirmative consent before charging for subscription renewals.

NYT $2.4M Deal In Auto-Renewal Case : Conclusion

This legal development marks a crucial step forward in addressing the concerns of NYT subscribers and ensuring fair treatment in automatic subscription renewals. The class is represented by Neal Deckant of Bursor & Fisher PA, while the NYT’s legal defense includes Sandra Hauser, Kristen Rodriguez, and Natalie Spears from Dentons US LLP.