Back in May, TNW reported that a settlement had been reached between Facebook, and aggrieved parties that took it to court over its ‘Sponsored Stories’ feature.

A hearing on that settlement was scheduled for tomorrow. However, news is out today that the judge, Lucy Koh, has recused herself from the proceedings. According to Reuters, no reason was given for the recusal.

The total settlement is set to be just north of $20 million, a large sum, but one that is far less than what the parties claimed that Facebook had earned by abusing their privacy. Sponsored Stories, as TNW reported, work in the following way:

A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that shows up alongside the news feed portion of Facebook’s site and often includes one or more of your friends, if they have “liked” the product being advertised.

Judge Koh has been with the story since it landed in federal court, last year. Her sudden departure is somewhat odd, given that fact. Speculation is free, and the potential reasons for her recusal are myriad. It could be something as banal as her discovering that a relative or other close person is part of the party to receive the compensatory funds.

In her recusal, Koh asked that another judge take up the case. In all likelihood, this sudden turn of event will only result in a slight delay in the conclusion of the episode. Facebook’s shares were off 1.5% on the day.

Top Image Credit: Bill Bradford