LinkedIn users take note: If you used the professional networking service between Sept. 17, 2011, and Oct. 31, 2014, LinkedIn may owe you money. According to an announcement published Friday, LinkedIn has agreed to pay $13 million as an out-of-court settlement in response to a class action lawsuit brought about in 2013 that alleged the company had sent out an excessive number of emails on users’ behalf. LinkedIn sent emails on Friday to users with info about submitting claims. Many of us are used to ignoring messages from the social media network, but you should go back and comb through your emails — there may be money at stake!
In the class action suit, users claimed that LinkedIn — notorious for its high volume of emails sent to users and their contacts — had harmed their professional reputations by sending out emails in their names without their consent. At issue was the network’s “Add Connections” feature, which allows users to import their email contacts to LinkedIn. Contacts would then get an invitation to join LinkedIn; when they didn’t respond, the service would follow up with two more emails. In the suit, users claimed that although they had agreed to the first email being sent, LinkedIn had no right to send the two follow-ups. In a 2014 ruling, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed that the emails were problematic, explaining, “the second and third endorsement emails could injure users’ reputations by allowing contacts to think that the users are the types of people who spam their contacts.”
LinkedIn chose to settle instead of continuing the battle in court. According to Fortune, the company has agreed to a payout of $13 million. Of that amount, up to $3.25 million will go to lawyers, and the rest will be split among claimants. If payments look like they’ll dip below 10 dollars, LinkedIn will add another $750 thousand. How much each claimant will get will depend on how many approved claims there are; the max amount for each is $1500.
OK, so what does all of this mean for you? If you were a LinkedIn user between Sept. 17, 2011, and Oct. 31, 2014 and you used the “Add Connections” feature, then you may be entitled to a slice of the settlement pie. Check your inbox from Friday; if you got an email from LinkedIn about the settlement, it’ll have a claim number that you can enter into the settlement website. If you didn’t get an email, but you think you might still be entitled to compensation, you can learn how to file a claim on the website.