On August 20, the Lanier Law Firm sued Facebook in California for privacy violations on behalf of five plaintiffs. The Lanier Law Firm is run by Mark Lanier who obtained the $200 million+ verdict against Vioxx in Brazoria County, Texas.
This time, he is suing Facebook under several California laws claiming Facebook has violated the privacy and publicity rights of five people in California which includes two minors, a model and a photographer.
The reaction to the suit has largely been against the filing. Unless this was a pure publicity stunt, a law firm does not invest the time and resources on a contingency-fee case unless they believe there is a decent chance of economic recovery. If Mark Lanier needed more publicity, he would just throw another Christmas party.
What surprises me is that some people are still offended about the lack of privacy on the web. Yes, it would irk me if Facebook used a picture of my kid in an advertisement without my permission or knowledge and I could have an actual claim for that. Read here for a story where a husband was suprised when he received a single’s dating website on his Facebook page with his wife’s picture and what you can do with your Facebook settings that may help. Then again, I enjoy Facebook for free, I enjoy recommendations from Amazon and I like it that Google knows I am in Houston when I do a search. Surely, there is a balanced approach.