GBS: What Happened to the Object-via-Email Option?

In comments, Jerry Garchik asks a very good question:

Where is the designated e mail for objections promised to Judge Chin at the last hearing? The boxed section: “Your Rights Under the Amended Settlement Agreement” only tells potential objectors:”…you may file an objection by following the instructions in the original Notice and at hhtp://” Why doesn’t this Notice give us the e mail for objections that was promised to Judge Chin when he complained about the scanning burden on his staff from the flood of objections filed in September??

The settlement administration site says:

To object to the Amended Settlement, you must, on or before January 28, 2010, file with the Court a statement of your objection to the amended provisions of the settlement and the grounds for your objection, at the following address:

Office of the Clerk, J. Michael McMahon
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New >York
500 Pearl Street
New York, New York 10007

You must also send a copy of your objection by email or First-Class Mail on Counsel for the Author Sub-Class, Counsel for the Publisher Sub-Class and Counsel for Google.

[addresses omitted]

Here’s the relevant passage from the transcript of the status conference:

THE COURT: … I don’t know, because I wasn’t involved initially, I would hope there would be a way that we could make this smoother. I mean, for example, the objections came in by hard copy to the Court, and it was really a difficult process for us to scan.

Believe it or not we have one small scanner and we were scanning for four days essentially.

I don’t know whether there’s a way — and in this case of all cases there ought to be an electronic way of handling this.

On the other hand, our clerk’s office has concerns about nonlawyers sending things directly, but maybe we could set up an e-mail address on the settlement website or something where objections can be filed electronically, they are available for everyone, there’s no question, and everyone should know that they are public and that would be easier. I think that is something to think about. Yes?

MR. BONI: Your Honor, it is a requirement under the notice for objectors or any party who wishes to comment on the settlement not just to file the comments with the Court but also to serve the parties.

In many cases, we get service by an e-mail address, or We would be happy to take the onus from the Court to the extent we get paper filings, copies of the paper filings and scan them ourselves and submit them to the Court in electronic form. In most cases the objections are sent to counsel. For some reason that wasn’t done here.

MR. BONI: Yes.

THE COURT: I don’t think anyone envisioned 400-plus objections in any event.


THE COURT: Particularly given the number, what I am suggesting is that it be done electronically, period, and to the extent that there is an odd paper one that comes in, we can deal with it. But it would I think make life easier for everyone to be more efficient. Think about how you can set that up.

MR. KELLER: Your Honor, when we issue or submit the proposed new notice to you, we will call that out specifically in an effort to reduce the burden on the Court.

THE COURT: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Paragraph 25 of the proposed order for preliminary approval is the one that deals with objections. (It’s attachment H to the amended settlement.) The amendments changed the dates added a clause limiting objections to the amendments, and changed the names and addresses of the relevant lawyers. But they say nothing about sending in objections electronically.

If it’s the case, as it seems to be, that they have failed to keep an agreement made with the judge, how could anyone have confidence that they would abide by the settlement agreement?