Chambers

Class action launched against Meta on behalf of UK consumers

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen is being advised by a Quinn Emanuel team led by UK partner and head of Competition Litigation Kate Vernon, and counsel Ronit Kreisberger QC and Nikolaus Grubeck of Monckton Chambers and Greg Adey of One Essex Court

A multi-billion pound damages claim is to be launched against Meta (formerly Facebook Inc.) on behalf of UK Facebook users, for “abusing its dominant market position by imposing unfair trading terms and prices on users”.

The claim is being brought by Dr. Liza Lovdahl Gormsen as the proposed representative of the class of UK consumers. Dr Gormsen has a “long and distinguished” career as a competition law academic and market abuse practitioner. She is a senior research fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and the director of the Competition Law Forum.

The claim will be filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) and will be pursued under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on behalf of around 44 million UK consumers. The Act enables an opt-out collective damages claim to be brought on behalf of a class of people who have suffered loss. 

Law firm Quinn Emanuel has today (14 January) written a Letter Before Action to Facebook. A minimum of £2.3bn plus interest is being sought as damages.

Dr Lovdahl Gormsen is being advised by a Quinn Emanuel team led by UK partner and head of Competition Litigation Kate Vernon, and counsel Ronit Kreisberger QC and Nikolaus Grubeck of Monckton Chambers and Greg Adey of One Essex Court. The claim is being funded by Innsworth Litigation Funding.

Quinn Emanuel said both it and Innsworth have a “strong track record” of working in this field and have “extensive experience” of consumer claims of this kind. 

Quinn Emanuel partner Kate Vernon said: ‘Facebook made billions of pounds from UK consumers by only permitting access to its network in exchange for control of its users’ extensive personal data. The price extracted is unfairly high given the commercial value of the user data collected but is presented by Facebook on a ‘take it or leave it basis’ with zero monetary compensation for users. 

“This is a clear abuse of its dominant position in the social network market and UK consumers must be compensated for this egregious behaviour. We are delighted to be acting for Dr Lovdahl Gormsen in seeking redress for UK consumers who have been unfairly exploited by Facebook over many years.”

Quinn Emanuel will imminently be filing Dr Lovdahl Gormsen’s proposed claim with the CAT which will set out the details of the claim. 

Under the rules laid down in the Consumer Rights Act, all UK users of Facebook between at least 2015 and 2019 now living in the UK will automatically become part of the group of claimants unless they explicitly opt-out. 

This means that, once the claim is filed, no action will be required by individuals as they will automatically be eligible to receive compensation at the conclusion of the claim.

A Meta spokesman told City AM: “People access our service for free. They choose our services because we deliver value for them and they have meaningful control of what information they share on Meta’s platforms and who with. We have invested heavily to create tools that allow them to do so.”

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