Certain Groupon customers are entitled to part of the $8.5 million in damages that have been awarded as part of a class-action lawsuit against the company. Here's how to find out if you are eligible.

Among other complaints, plaintiffs claimed that Groupon Vouchers contained expiration dates and other restrictions in violation of federal and state law, according to legal documents.

If you purchased a Groupon voucher (aka: paid for a deal offered through the site) between Nov. 1, 2008, and Dec. 1, 2011, that was to be redeemed in the United States, you may be eligible for benefits from the settlement, according to an email sent by Groupon to its subscribers Tuesday afternoon:

If the settlement is approved, class members who complete and return a claim form may be eligible to receive a Settlement Voucher entitling them to redeem unused Groupon vouchers purchased between November 1, 2008 and December 1, 2011 for redemption in the United States that are past their stated expiration date. Settlement Vouchers may be redeemed at the location of the merchant identified on the voucher, for goods and/or services equal to the purchase price of the voucher. Rather than seeking a settlement benefit, you may choose to exclude yourself from the settlement.

The first step toward finding out whether you are considered a member of the class of consumers that has brought the lawsuit against Groupon is to visit the website at this link, which provides all the official details regarding the suit, the settlement and more.

Even if you did buy a Groupon voucher during the correct timeframe, you will not be eligible for a free voucher, if you are (1) an employee of Groupon, Inc.; (2) a business with whom Groupon has partnered to offer Groupon vouchers ('Merchant Partners'); or (3) a parent company, subsidiary, affiliate or director or officer of Groupon or a Merchant Partner, according to the settlement documentation.

After reading through the information provided there to ensure that you are a party to the lawsuit, you will need to fill out a proof of claim form in order to obtain settlement benefits, which is also found on that site.

You may either send in the form to request your portion of the $8.5 million settlement, or you can elect to exclude yourself from, or object to, the settlement. Whichever choice you make, the deadline to respond is July 6, 2012.

For further details about the Groupon class-action suit, visit this website to view the court documents associated with it. The suit is pending in the United States District Court, Southern District of California. and is called In Re Groupon Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, case no. 3:11-md-02238. 

The suit was filed because of certain marketing and sales practices that plaintiffs have alleged are in violation of federal law, according to the settlement documents:

Several lawsuits were filed against Groupon, Inc. (;Groupon') and several businesses ('Merchant Partners') with whom Groupon has partnered to offer and sell Groupon Vouchers, regarding the marketing and sale of Groupon Vouchers.  Among other things, plaintiffs claimed that Groupon Vouchers contained expiration dates and other restrictions in violation of federal and state law and challenged statements on Groupon Vouchers and in terms of use and terms of sale on Groupon's website used in connection with the offering or sale of Groupon Vouchers.  Lawsuits were filed in several different courts but all lawsuits filed in United States District Courts are now centralized and pending before the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.