In a one-page court filing on Wednesday, U. S. District Judge Lucy Koh, in San Jose federal court, recused herself - without giving any specific reason - from the privacy class action lawsuit involving Facebook's `Sponsored Stories' feature.
According to the accusations leveled against Facebook via the lawsuit, involving more than 100 million potential class members, the bigwig social networking company had allegedly violated California law as well as the privacy-related rights of the plaintiffs by unauthorized publicizing of their "likes" in `Sponsored Stories' ads, without either compensating them or giving them any `opt put' option.
After overseeing the lawsuit since its filing in April last year, Judge Koh's recusal from the case came one day ahead of the scheduled Thursday hearing to work out a proposed $20 million settlement which Facebook has reportedly decided to pay to charity.
Though Koh has refrained from giving any reason for handing over the Facebook `Sponsored Stories' lawsuit to another judge, her recusal decision apparently was prompted by the fact that she is associated with a number of organizations which will be receiving money as part of Facebook's settlement deal in the case.
While her husband, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, is co-director of Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation, and the University's Information Law Institute is set to receive $600,000; Koh herself is a member of Santa Clara University School of Law's High Tech Advisory Board, and the High Tech Law Institute of the University will also receive $600,000 as part of settlement.