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Class Action Suit Over Instagram’s Terms of Service Dismissed by Judge



On Christmas Day of last year, we shared the news that Instagram was still dealing with fallout after their infamous Terms of Service mishap. Even after scaling back the Policy to pacify angry users, the company still faced with a class action lawsuit.

Well, fortunately for parent company Facebook, that chapter seems to finally be closing, and it’s doing so without the social network having to write a many-zeroed check.

The original suit was filed by Instagram user Lucy Funes, who claimed that three specific parts of the new policy were still controversial: the first two gave Instagram the sublicensing rights and permission to keep advertiser sponsored posts unidentified, while the third eliminated the option for users to file class action lawsuits.


Since then, one Lucy Rodriguez has taken over as the lead plaintiff on the suit, filing an amended complaint with the Northern District of California in March. It’s an issue with that complaint that has ultimately led to the dismissal of the case.

According to Courthouse News Service (and paraphrased as simply as possible by yours truly) the problem is as follows: at least two-thirds of the “plaintiff class” and the lead plaintiff are California residents. Thanks to the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, those two facts mean that the US District Court doesn’t have jurisdiction in this case.

Before the case was dismissed, Rodriguez did try to file a second amended complaint, basically sidestepping this “home-state controversy” rule, but US District Judge William Alsup declined that request based on the fact that it was simply trying to give the court jurisdiction where it had none before. The case, in short, is closed.

If you want a more detailed legal explanation, here’s the dismissal itself:

Of course, this ruling doesn’t mean Rodriguez cannot and will not try her luck in state court. But given how long it took to get to this point, and the fact that Instagram could legally put just about anything in its terms of service as long as the company notifies its users ahead of time, the chances that the case would succeed are slim.

(via GigaOM)

Image credits: Photo illustration based on Courtroom One Gavel by Joe Gratz