Facebook’s WilmerHale Seeks Over $2M In Fees In Data Suit

Lawyers for Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc have asked a California federal judge to award more than $2.73 million in legal fees for their work on a lawsuit accusing an Israeli company of unlawfully scraping user and advertising information from the popular social media site.

Meta’s legal team at US law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr argued in a San Francisco court filingWednesday that the fees they seek under a California state computer data and fraud law are justified.

Meta sued advertising analytics company BrandTotal Ltd in 2020 and won a court ruling in May that Meta said in court filings had “shut down [BrandTotal’s] entire scraping operation.”

Wilmer attorneys including partner Sonal Mehta, a lead tech and intellectual property lawyer at the firm, said Meta negotiated fixed fees for parts of the legal work and that the overall amount sought “reflects a discount from WilmerHale’s standard billing rates.”

A representative from Meta on Thursday declined to comment, and a spokesperson for BrandTotal did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

A lawyer for BrandTotal, Rudy Telscher of Husch Blackwell in St. Louis, told Reuters his client will oppose Meta’s fee bid.

Telscher said “we do not believe the conduct was of a nature warranting fees and certainly not at the level that Facebook seeks.”

BrandTotal will ask the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the underlying legal issues, he said. The case raises issues over whether “social media companies, like Facebook, can contractually prevent users from selling data they own under the California Consumer Protection Act to companies like BrandTotal,” Telscher said.

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